On the evening of January 16, 1970 the author heard Dr. Richard W. Hamming deliver in New York City a lecture titled "One Man's View of Computer Science." This lecture was an updated version of his 1968 Turing Award lecture of the same title. The theme of Dr. Hamming's lecture was that individual programmers could not continue to write programs in their own particular undisciplined way with little regard for others who might have to understand them (document, use, debug, or modify them) at some later date. Dr. Hamming said that programmers would have to change their ways and adopt some limited set of standards lest the world become populated with more differently styled programs than could possibly be maintained. And he said that needed new techniques were evolving. He was right, for software engineering has just started.
Since then, the emphasis has been on understandable and orderly programs and systems, not on individualized, tricky, superefficient, anything-goes coding.
Richard B. Hurley
Decision Tables in Software Engineering 1983