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Extra resources for ACM, Programming languages -- Past, Present, and Future - Sixteen Prominent Computer Scientiest Assess Our Field

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I don't think we understand well enough the environment in which the people who are using them every day exist. And they should become skilled in a couple of very different languages. Dennis: Learn as much as you can about every- thing. Get a broad education. Ferrante: I would say, learn the basics. If they're going to be in the field and going to go off and get a job, they need to be able to understand the concepts and be able to solve problems using programming languages. And they have to have a good understanding of systems, that will remain flexible as they go on.

At this time, programming languages are still generally used only to describe what goes on in the main memory of the computer; programming languages do not provide support for making use of operating system facilities, other than library calls. The operating system facilities make up an enormous part of what a current contemporary application is up to. File system use, concurrency primitives, message passing, synchronization, protection concepts-these are all utilized through the operating system and are not normally represented in programming languages.

Kennedy: I would re-emphasize something I already said. Compilers are a way to make programming languages effective and usable. There's long been a sort of golden dream of programming languages to provide a very high-level interface to really increase productivity for the individual programmer. I don't think we should give up on achieving that goal. It's going to come because of progress in the architecture of fast machines and all we have learned about how to analyze and improve efficiency for programs as a whole.

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