“Logic and Computing in France: A Late Convergence”

Title“Logic and Computing in France: A Late Convergence”
Publication TypeWeb Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMounier-Kuhn, P
DescriptionL. De Mol et G. Primiero (dir.), AISB/IACAP World Congress 2012 - History and Philosophy of Programming, ISBN978-1-908187-17-8,
KeywordsComputer science, discipline building, France, Institut Blaise Pascal, Mathematical logic

How did mathematical logic interact with computing in the pioneer era ? Was the “Turing machine”, to sum up a common model, a decisive source of inspiration for electronic computers designers ? I tend to consider this model as a founding myth of theoretical computer science, an a posteriori reconstruction, more than an accurate historical account. Based on archival research and oral history interviews, a detailed investigation on the case of France – a mid-size country where computers appeared years later than in Britain and in the USA – suggests rather a late encounter than a filiation process.