Edgar G. Daylight

Journal Publications

  • G. Daylight. The Halting Problem and Security’s Language Theoretic Approach: Praise and Criticism from a Technical Historian, Computability, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 141-158, 2021; see https://dijkstrascry.com/lecture2
  • G. Daylight. From “The Philosophy” to “A Philosophy” of Computer Science: Recognizing a Variety of Positions in the Intellectual History of Computing, To appear in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing in the 4th quarter of 2021


Book Project

  • Working Title: Turing 2.0 — Towards an Accurate History of Computer Science
  • Estimated publication date: December 2023

Research Project: Building a Computer Science Past for Tomorrow’s Internet of Moving Things

Wireless networks, sensors and software are transforming our societies into an Internet of Moving Things. We are starting to use Internet-connected drones, self-driving cars and pacemakers designed to facilitate long-distance patient monitoring by doctors. These technologies show promise, but their negative impacts are unknown or downplayed by experts, companies and marketers. When actual problems arise, pacemakers’ software must be updated quickly to prevent malicious hackers from attacking such devices and taking over control of patients’ lives. Drones and cars could become controlled remotely by malicious parties.

Identifying and anticipating such problems and preparing for risk mitigation is an urgent matter, in order to ensure human safety. Anticipation is feasible in principle but greatly lacking in practice. A fundamental reason for this omission is that software has become too intricate, even for experts. This fundamental problem persists largely because computer science lacks a revealing history of software and its mathematical underpinnings. The history of computers has been well covered, but not the history of software. The present project will fill this lacuna so that our society obtains the intellectual tools to examine the practical implications of software errors in our Internet of Moving Things. It will contribute to the development of measures that better protect citizens, infrastructures and services against safety and security breaches. The project’s deliverable is a critical, historical analysis of where our connected world comes from and where it is heading. Specifically, the principal investigator will historicize computer science’s never-ending quest for its holy grail: a technique for developing error-free software.