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Andrew Black
Last updated at 8:33 pm UTC on 31 January 2006
Uploaded Image: AndrewAtCraterLake.jpg

I first became interested in programming languages around 1972 when I was introduced to Algol 60. Compared to Fortran, the conceptual elegance was overwhelming. Algol 68, which was the language de jure of my undergarduate Computing Science degree, was a similar blast of fresh air.

I was introduced to objects through the process of writing one of the earliest Object-Oriented distributed operating systems, the Eden System at the University of Washington. Later, Hank Levy, Norm Hutchinson, Eric Jul and I tried to combine the concetual elegance of Algol with the pragmatics of distribution, and produced the Emerald programming language and its run-time system. Along the way, we invented, or re-invented, type conformity and f-bounded polymorphism. This was all before 1985.

After a spell in industry, I returned to academia in 1994 when I joined the Oregon Graduate Institute, where I am still a professor. I discovered Smalltalk by the time-honored process of teaching it. I've tried other languages since, notably Self and Java, but keep coming back to Smalltalk, because it has just about everything you need. To paraphrase Garrison Keeler: if Smalltalk doesn't have it, you can probably get along pretty well without it.

I continued to learn Squeak by teaching a Tutorial on it at ECOOP 2001. The materials from that tutorial are here.

Update: 2006. I'm now at Portland State University, and continuing to teach OOP using Squeak. Sometimes it's great, sometimes its appalling, but it alwasy keeps one on one's toes.