71 Total Quotes

Dutch Scientist Quotes

The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim.
Edsger Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.
Edsger Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

APL is a mistake, carried through to perfection. It is the language of the future for the programming techniques of the past: it creates a new generation of coding bums.
Edsger Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.
Edsger Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!
Edsger Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offense.
Edsger Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California.
Edsger Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

The students that, like the wild animal being prepared for its tricks in the circus called "life", expects only training as sketched above, will be severely disappointed: by his standards he will learn next to nothing.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Don't compete with me: firstly, I have more experience, and secondly, I have chosen the weapons.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

About the use of language: it is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt axe. It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Aim for brevity while avoiding jargon.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Elegance is not a dispensable luxury but a factor that decides between success and failure.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

I mentioned the non-competitive spirit explicitly, because these days, excellence is a fashionable concept. But excellence is a competitive notion, and that is not what we are heading for: we are heading for perfection.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

If 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty, you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to yourself: 'Dijkstra would not have liked this', well that would be enough immortality for me.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Many mathematicians derive part of their self-esteem by feeling themselves the proud heirs of a long tradition of rational thinking; I am afraid they idealize their cultural ancestors.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Mathematicians are like managers - they want improvement without change.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Perfecting oneself is as much unlearning as it is learning.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Programming is one of the most difficult branches of applied mathematics; the poorer mathematicians had better remain pure mathematicians.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Teaching to unsuspecting youngsters the effective use of formal methods is one of the joys of life because it is so extremely rewarding.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

The ability of discerning high quality unavoidably implies the ability of identifying shortcomings.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

The competent programmer is fully aware of the limited size of his own skull. He therefore approaches his task with full humility, and avoids clever tricks like the plague.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

The lurking suspicion that something could be simplified is the world's richest source of rewarding challenges.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

The traditional mathematician recognizes and appreciates mathematical elegance when he sees it. I propose to go one step further, and to consider elegance an essential ingredient of mathematics: if it is clumsy, it is not mathematics.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

There should be no such thing as boring mathematics.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

Why has elegance found so little following? That is the reality of it. Elegance has the disadvantage, if that's what it is, that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it.
Edsger W. Dijkstra
#Dutch Scientist

I spent every night until four in the morning on my dissertation, until I came to the point when I could not write another word, not even the next letter. I went to bed. Eight o'clock the next morning I was up writing again.
Abraham Pais
#Dutch Scientist

Of course, relative citation frequencies are no measure of relative importance. Who has not aspired to write a paper so fundamental that very soon it is known to everyone and cited by no one?
Abraham Pais
#Dutch Scientist

Once I even took the train to Utrecht, forty miles from Amsterdam, with my yellow star, this star which I still have. Why did I go? I just wanted to visit some friends. I was a little bit crazy, a little bit insane.
Abraham Pais
#Dutch Scientist

One of the absolute rules I learned in the war was, don't know anything you don't need to know, because if you ever get caught they will get it out of you.
Abraham Pais
#Dutch Scientist