Peter Naur

Denmark – 2005
Additional Materials

Additional Notes


A program which translates programs written in a notation suitable for humans into code suitable for execution by a computer.

runtime system

A system that supports the execution of computer programs. A typical and important example is dynamic memory management, the act of allocating portions of memory to programs at their request, and freeing it for reuse when no longer needed.

side effect

A procedure has a side effect if, in addition to behaving like a mathematical function that returns a value, it also modifies some persistent state. The latter is achieved by modifying a global or static variable, modifying an argument of the procedure, raising an exception, writing data to a file, etc.


  1. Alberts, G. and H. De Beer, Unpublished 2006 interview with Peter Naur.
  2. Backus, J. W.,“The syntax and semantics of the proposed international algebraic language of the Zürich ACM-GAMM Conference”, In: IFIP Congress, 1959, pp. 120-125.
  3. Backus, J.W. et al. “Report on the algorithmic language ALGOL 60,” Communications of the ACM Vol. 3 Num. 5 (1960) Editor: P. Naur, pp. 299-314, available here.
  4. Cockburn, A., Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game, Addison-Wesley, 2nd edition, 2006.
  5. Daylight E.G., “Dijkstra’s Rallying Cry for Generalization: the Advent of the Recursive Procedure, late 1950s – early 1960s,” The Computer Journal, 2011. Available for free here.
  6. Daylight, E.G., K. De Grave and P. Naur (eds), Pluralism in Software Engineering: Turing Award Winner Peter Naur Explains, Conversations Issue 1, Volume 2011, Lonely Scholar.
  7. Daylight, E.G, The Dawn of Software Engineering: from Turing to Dijkstra, Lonely Scholar, April 2012.
  8. James, W., The Principles of Psychology, Vol. I-II, Henry Holt, 1890. Reprinted by Dover, 1950.
  9. Knuth D., “Backus Normal Form vs. Backus Naur Form” Letters to the Editor, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 7 (1964). pp. 735-736, available here.
  10. Naur, P., “The orbit of comet du Toit-Neujmin-Delporte (1941 e),” Det kgl. Danske Videnskabernes Selskab, Mat. Fys. Medd 22.1 (1945).
  11. Naur, P., “Beretning om programstyrede elektronregnemaskiner I England, U.SA. og Sverige (Report on programmed electronic computers in England, the U.S.A. and Sweden),” May 1954.
  12. Naur, P., “The design of the Gier Algol Compiler,” BIT Nordisk Tidskrift for Informationsbehandling, Vol. 3 (1963).
  13. Naur, P., “'Datalogy', the science of data and data processes.” IFIP Congress 2, 1968, pp. 1383-1387.
  14. Naur P. and B. Randell, eds., Software Engineering, 1969. Report on a Conference sponsored by NATO Science Committee, held in 1968.
  15. Naur P., “An experiment on program development,” BIT Nordisk Tidskrift for Informationsbehandling, Vol. 12, Num. 3 (1972). pp. 347-365.
  16. Naur P., “Computing versus human thinking, A.M. Turing Award Lecture,” Communications of the ACM, Vol. 50, Num. 1 (Jan. 2007), pp. 85-94, available for free here.