Friday, January 13, 2017

Practical Benefits of Philosophy - technology edition

A number of years ago Myk presented the “Practical Benefits of Philosophy” in which he compared psychologist Carol Dweck’s ideas about growth and fixed mindsets to the philosophies of existentialism and essentialism. We had some fun (i.e. worthwhile) discussions on the topic (in my humble opinion). In spite of the fact that many family members support the study of philosophy as important to providing practical benefits in life, many others, like much of the world, see philosophy as a waste of time at best, and word manipulation at worst. Well, we all have our predilections and proper experiences. I’d like to give a totally different example of the “Practical Benefits of Philosophy”.

Unfortunately, it involves the world of programming, a world no one who reads this blog has any interest (unless big Dave gets some time off from work and chasing after kids to read).

Apple Corp. created a new, very well received language a few years ago called Swift. It was created by a very intelligent person named Chris Lattner. Mr. Lattner, as a graduate student, designed LLVM (Low Level Virtual Machine), an innovative infrastructure for optimizing compilers. A compiler is code that creates machine code from the code programmers write in. Practically all languages now use Lattner’s LLVM to complie code. 

Anyway, he was hired by Apple, did fantastic work with LLVM and other creations which form the core of Apple’s development environment. Then he created the new language Swift. Lattner announced a few days ago he is leaving Apple for a new challenge at Tesla. The person taking over Lattner’s responsibiilties at Apple and head of the Swift language is Ted Kremenek. Lattner admits that for some time now Kremenek has been more or less running the show, so it will be a smooth transition. 

Ted Kremenek has a doctorate in Philosophy from Stanford.

1 comment:

Big Myk said...

You don’t have to go into the programming world to find remarkable philosophy majors. You find us everywhere. Here’s a partial list: Umberto Eco, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ethan Coen, Steve Martin, Bruce Lee, Phil Jackson, Wes Anderson, Matt Groening. Of course, as any philosophy major could tell you, correlation does not imply causation.