Blog 2017 12 22 Coders at work: L Peter Deutsch

Coders at work: L Peter Deutsch

The path of Deutsch is really interesting. He started programming in 1957 at the age of 11, he received a Ph.D. from Berkeley, worked at Xerox Parc, Sun Microsystem. He was even inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. Later he got fed up with computer sciences and became a musician.

His life is a real example that you can accomplish important success not just in one field and that you should never be afraid of a change. Just do it.

Of course, he had some past in music. He used to sing in a chorus and after a tour in Italy, he stayed in Europe for a while with his partner went to a musical museum in Vienna, and realized why he was struggling so much with finding a new project after having stopped working on Ghostscript.

He was just simply not interested anymore. Before he had had a belief that software can make life better, but he lost his belief. He started to think that if he composes music it can last for longer, it can last much more than a few years.

He expresses that he’s not really optimistic about the future of computing, hence it wasn’t difficult for him to get out. He doesn’t like fields dominated by - according to him - “unethical monopolists”.

He also said that he thinks we should throw out all the languages using pointers because the concept of pointers doesn’t exist in the real world. Programming is very different from the real world and we should change that.

We have a small history of computer science whereas in mathematics we have a background of somewhat like 5 to 10 thousand years. This means that we don’t really know yet, what we are doing and most of the softwares are crap. Still, he hasn’t seen a significant improvement in the quality of programming languages - again, because of pointers.

Obviously, he is not a huge fan of C/C++.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.