Amusing computer science quotes

  • Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves. ~ Alan Kay
  • Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it. ~ Brian W. Kernighan
  • If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization. ~ Gerald Weinberg
  • Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it. ~ Donald Knuth
  • We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil. ~ Donald Knuth
  • It should be noted that no ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a DestroyBaghdad procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a DestroyCity procedure, to which Baghdad could be given as a parameter. ~ Nathaniel Borenstein
  • The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time. The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time. ~ Tom Cargill
  • PHP is a minor evil perpetrated and created by incompetent amateurs, whereas Perl is a great and insidious evil, perpetrated by skilled but perverted professionals. ~ Jon Ribbens
  • A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn’t even know existed can render your own computer unusable. ~ Leslie Lamport
  • The best performance improvement is the transition from the nonworking state to the working state. ~ John Ousterhout
  • There are two ways to write error-free programs; only the third works. ~ Alan J. Perlis
  • A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kick boxing. ~ Emo Philips
  • A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history—with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila. ~ Mitche Ratcliffe
  • Programmers are in a race with the Universe to create bigger and better idiot-proof programs, while the Universe is trying to create bigger and better idiots. So far the Universe is winning.~ Rich Cook
  • To iterate is human, to recurse divine. ~ L. Peter Deutsch
  • It is practically impossible to teach good programming style to students that have had prior exposure to Basic; as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration. ~ Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • I bet you’ll all think coding is pretty cool. That is, if you find two digit multi-stacked conversions and primary number crunching a big hoot. ~ Willow
  • Some people, when confronted with a problem, think “I know, I’ll use regular expressions.” Now they have two problems. ~ Jamie Zawinski
  • Just because the standard provides a cliff in front of you, you are not necessarily required to jump off it. ~ Norman Diamond
  • Without requirements or design, programming is the art of adding bugs to an empty text file. ~ Louis Srygley
  • The primary duty of an exception handler is to get the error out of the lap of the programmer and into the surprised face of the user. Provided you keep this cardinal rule in mind, you can’t go far wrong. ~ Verity Stob
  • C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows your whole leg off. ~ Bjarne Stroustrup
  • I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone. ~ Bjarne Stroustrup
  • There are only two industries that refer to their customers as “users.” ~ Edward Tufte
  • Most of you are familiar with the virtues of a programmer. There are three, of course: laziness, impatience, and hubris. ~ Larry Wall
  • Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes. ~ Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. ~ Hofstadter’s Law
  • For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. ~ H L Mencken
  • Incorrect documentation is often worse than no documentation. ~ Bertrand Meyer
  • Debugging a Direct3D application can be challenging. ~ Microsoft’s Direct3D Immediate Mode overview.
  • A mathematician is a machine for turning coffee into theorems. ~ Alfréd Rényi

About probabilityZero

I'm a rather boring, geeky college student. Most of my time is spent at a computer, reading a book, or sitting in (mostly uninteresting) classes. My hobbies include reading, blogging, creating and running websites, creating amateur video games, arguing incessantly on discussion forums, and buying books on because I'm too lazy to go to the library.
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8 Responses to Amusing computer science quotes

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  2. tar says:

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  4. JadeNB says:

    That regex quote has a long history. Here’s (presumably) the authoritative word from Jamie:

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  7. Allove Danjuma says:

    Men you are really doing a great job, most quotes even those i have read on this site make me to have more confident been a computer scientist. finally i think we have something in common “web design” and quotes from Dijkstra always make me happy.

  8. Dan says:

    Great job!

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