TH Eindhoven: chances and deceptions
In 1962,
Edsger Dijkstra was offered a full professorship at the TH Eindhoven (Eindhoven
Polytechnic). Although chairs abroad were already named Chairs in Computer
Science, Dijkstra strongly opposed to this approach, mainly because of a lack
of scientific substance of the profession. His chair was that of Professor
of Mathematics. His students received at least 3 years of thorough mathematical
education, after which period they could specialize in Informatics. The mathematical
training was based upon the principles of applied mathematics. In the long
run Informatics developed the forms of mathematics it needed by itself.
In 1967, Dijkstra went through a deep emotional crisis.
The thesis of his first Ph.D. student had been rejected by his mathematical
colleagues at Eindhoven, who were still contemptuous of computer science.
For him and his wife this period of deep depression was the hardest
time of their life, but he regained his original strength and started
to write: Notes on structured Programming.His colleagues at Eindhoven
stayed silent or reacted in an utterly negative way, but Dijkstra chose
the right way of attack: he xeroxed some 20 copies to colleagues in
Europe and America. This was the start of a collection of scientific
notes and papers that outnumbers the Bach Werke Verzeichnis, or BWV,
with ease: the EWD’s.
