I worked for Vic at the Digital Cambridge Research Lab. Entirely awesome. Another Vic
story is how he got sent to visit the Pave Paws radar on Cape Cod because the locals were
worried that software errors in the phased array controls could zap the populace.
Vic talked to the radar people and found out that there was a hardware stop that prevented
beam angles below 3 degrees, so there was no need to worry about bugs.
Vic would always remember what the original problem was, rather than get lost in
On Apr 9, 2022, at 7:48 AM, Douglas McIlroy
Single Level Storage is an awesome concept and removes so many ugly
hacks from algorithms that otherwise have to process data in files.
This was Vic Vyssotsky's signature contribution to Multics, though in typical
Vyssotsky fashion he never sought personal credit for it. Other awesome
BLODI (block diagram), the first data-flow language, for sample-data systems.
Parallel flow analysis (later reinvented and published by John Cocke). Vic
installed this in Fortran to produce diagnostics such as, "If the
third branch of IF
statement 15 is ever taken, then variable E will be used before being set".
Darwin, the original game of predation and self-reproduction among programs.
keeps a descendant version going 60 years later.
A minimum-spanning-tree algorithm quite different from the well-known methods
due to his colleagues Bob Prim and Joe Kruskal, again unpublished.
Not long ago on TUHS, Andrew Hume told how Vic found the same isolated bug in
dc by mathematically generating hard cases that Andrew stumbled on by accident,
As you may infer, Vic is one of my personal computing heroes.