Archive for July, 2018

A Bridge too Far: E.W. Dijkstra and Logic

July 21, 2018

1. Introduction

Shortly after the death of E.W. Dijkstra (1930-2002), K.R. Apt wrote an obituary under the title Portrait of a Genius [1]. At the time it seemed to me a bit over the top. Now, with the added wisdom of the intervening years, I consider the title accurate. The most striking feature of EWD’s career was that his remarkable string of successes was followed by a debacle: the book on logic that he co-authored. In this article I list EWD’s achievements, sketch their significance, and try to penetrate into the reasons why he attached such value to logic.