Posted on 9 September 2009 by Paolo Bernardi

I always loved to read, starting from Mickey Mouse when 3 years old and onward. 😉 On the Internet there is plenty of material to feed the hungriest readers, maybe even a bit too much. Reading can be done for fun or for profit… It’s best when it’s both! So, here’s two advices about reading material that is both fun and full of useful insights (if you got some interest in computer science, that’s it):

  • E.W. Dijkstra manuscript archive: writing was always a fundamental part of Prof. Dijkstra’s research, as you can read here. His collection of papers, called EWD’s, contains a lot of clever ideas both about mathematics, informatics (computer science) and quite some other things. Dijkstra’s opinions are always strong, often surprising, but always based on solid reasoning. Many accused him of being too close minded, but I can assure you that his writings are in fact mind openers. The documents are both in HTML and PDF format (apart few exceptions), the latter being often hand-written documents scan; I always read from the PDF’s, after having printed them, Dijkstra’s hand writing is really easy to read. If you don’t know where to start I can point you to this Convocation Speech, The Humble Programmer, Real mathematicians don’t prove, There is still a war going on and The fruits of misunderstanding.
  • Paul Graham’s essays: Paul Graham shares with Dijkstra the usage of writing as a way to think clearly about interesting subject matters. His essays are mostly about subjects he likes: programming, software startups (he co-founded one, now he’s a venture capitalist) and art; there are also writings about unrelated fields, anyway. Graham’s style is always clear and his contents are never trivial; again, quite often his readings are mind opener. The content is in HTML format only, but Graham did put quite some care to keep it in a readable format. As starting points I can suggest Beating the Averages, Revenge of the Nerds, The Python Paradox, Mind the Gap (warning: this one is about economics and society, not strictly computer science related).

Have fun!

Posted in Inspiration,

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