By Ian Cottam, IT Services Research Lead, The University of Manchester.
This is the first in a series of blog posts on my heroes of software engineering. I hope you will find it (and subsequent ones) of interest.
# 1 – Welsh and Quinn
My first heroes are Jim Welsh and Colm Quinn. Why? Because their 1972 paper  was the first one that convinced me that there was a discipline worthy to be called software engineering and that what they did was a tour de force, leaving me open mouthed in admiration of the magic they had dared to conjure.
Welsh and Quinn did the work in 1971, their paper appeared in 1972, and I came across it around 1974, if memory serves. It was a time of mainly batch mode, room-sized mainframes. Networking was something a few futurists thought about, and our source and data files existed on punched cards or paper tapes, which were hand-carried to your computer centre or even sent through the post, with results coming back on large format line printer paper.
So, just what did Welsh and Quinn achieve that so impressed my 22 year old self? They brought Pascal to the British Isles from its origin in Switzerland. I say British Isles as they were based at the Queen’s University… Continue Reading