Lecture: Pioneers of Computer Science: Aristotle and Euclid

C. Antony R. Hoare


In the fifteen years of this century, computer application has expanded dramatically from day to day, both in outreach and in sophistication. However, the origins of computer science itself date back several millennia, to the teachings of the most famous philosophers of the ancient world. I refer to Aristotle, the recognised founding father of biology and of logic, and to Euclid, whose Elements of geometry have been taught in schools right up to modern times. Throughout this interval, the ideas and culture of computer science have been advanced by philosophers, logicians and mathematicians. They contribute substantially to the intellectual heritage of the human race.