European universities too started to think about computing science. They, too, thought deep and hard about forging an academic discipline worthy of the name. But they were less in a hurry to institutionalize and eventually they embarked with a probably somewhat more conscious design. For an academic discipline to be viable, its areas should be coherent and should mutually reinforce each other; moreover, the material taught should have a staying power of, say, fifty years. For the sake of coherence, and in recognition of the fact that the automatic computer really deserves the name “general purpose”, it was generally decided that the application areas had better not be included in computing science. For the sake of staying power, it was generally decided that computing science should dissociate itself from the fickle market place: teaching how to make do with the equipment currently on the market was not the calling of European computing science, and all material with a half-life of five years was banned. In passing I mention that COBOL and FORTRAN were viewed as industrial products, and therefore not taught.

EWD #1024

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