Language Design with Brian Kernighan Holiday Repeat


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brian-kernighanOriginally published January 6, 2016

“The best computer science is the kind where the theory is inspired by some practical problem, you develop a better theoretical understanding of what you want to do, and that feeds back into better practice.”

Brian Kernighan is a professor of computer science at Princeton University and the author of several books, including The Go Programming Language and The C Programming Language, a book more commonly referred to as K&R. Professor Kernighan also worked at Bell Labs alongside Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie and contributed to the development of Unix.


  • What are the timeless characteristics that define a successful programming language?
  • How did people categorize languages 50 years ago?
  • What would people have been posting on Hacker News in 1965?
  • Why is Java so popular, and why do you think it’s strongly hyped?
  • Computers have become more powerful over time – how has this affected language design?
  • What are your thoughts on JavaScript?
  • What did you learn while writing a book about Go?
  • What did you learn about programming and life from working with Dennis Ritchie?


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