Teaching and learning recursive programming: a review of the research literature
According to J.A.N. Lee in 1996, computer scientists “are reaching the stage of development where each new generation of participants is unaware both of their overall technological ancestry and the history of the development of their speciality, and have no past to build upon” [1, p.54]. A technically and historically accurate account, as attempted here, can help us, computer scientists, grasp some of the fundamental ideas underlying our discipline. This paper describes some early contributions of E.W. Dijkstra by elaborating on his involvement in putting forward and implementing the recursive procedure as an ALGOL60 language construct. Particular attention is paid to Dijkstra’s generalizing style of solving problems.