Eugene McDonnell (1925-2010) died peacefully at home in
Palo Alto in the evening of August 17, surrounded by
family and friends. All of us in the APL world owe him
a debt for his pioneering work in APL.
I recently had the honor of writing the preface to Eugene's
"At Work and Play with J" (a collaborate editing effort of the
J community and a work of which Eugene was very proud).
I reproduce it here because it gives a sense of the man
and his work.
In my youth, when I was just starting in APL, on receiving
an issue of the APL Quote-Quad I would inevitably and
eagerly first turn to Eugene McDonnell ecreational APL
column. Through these columns I learned that it was possible
for technical writing to be erudite, educational, and entertaining,
and through them I learned a lot of APL.
Thus it was with Eugene t Play with Jarticles
in Vector. In topics ranging from primes to permutations
to pyramids to pi, with a cast of characters that included
Apter, Black, and Crelle, Jacob and Josephus,
Blanda and Montana and Taylor, and Scholes, the articles
offered up the moother pebblesand rettier shells
found while playing on the seashore bordering the great
ocean of knowledge. And we are all beneficiaries
of this play.
I am pleased that Vector is publishing the collection of
At Play with J as a book. I look forward to being
educated and entertained once more.
Collected papers and articles:
Quotations and Anecdotes: