Speaker Deck

Harmful GOTOs, Premature Optimizations, and Programming Myths are the Root of all Evil

by Alvaro Videla

Published February 13, 2015 in Programming

See: http://videlalvaro.github.io/2015/02/programming-myths.html

This talk is a discussion of the paper Structured Programming with Go To Statements by Donald Knuth, in which some programming myths that populate our industry are reviewed.

Maxims like "Go To Considered Harmful" or "Premature optimization is the root of all evil" are revisited and analyzed in context, both in the paper in which they appeared, and by further comments made by the authors, which are usually ignored.

At the same time a glimpse is given about what was the computer industry back in 1974, the year Knuth's paper was published, in order to better understand the concerns of the author in his paper.

At the end we try to analyze the current state of our industry, specifically around what has been dubbed "Buzzword Oriented Programming", the attitude of judging the merit of technologies based on blog post titles, or the 140 characters of a tweet.

The talk was originally presented at Papers We Love Madrid.