Peter Landin was an important figure in the development of programming language theory. He was instrumental in creating the distinction between syntax and semantics that we know today. Further, he helped show how programming languages could be mapped onto the Lambda Calculus even after they were designed (as opposed to a language like LISP that was designed to be a Lambda Calculus). This of course has had tremendous impact on our understanding of functional programming and compilers. He died in 2009.
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A Queer History of Computing: Part FourTextBiography
Peter Landin was an open bisexual and very active in the gay rights movement since the 1970s. This piece is part of a larger series about the gay history of computer science.
A correspondence between ALGOL 60 and Church's Lambda-notations: Part IIPDFPaper
A generalization of jumps and labelsPDFPaper
Correspondence between ALGOL 60 and Church's Lambda-notation: part IPDFPaper
Histories of discoveries of continuations: Belles-lettres with equivocal tensesPDFPaper
My years with StracheyPDFPaper
Peter Landin talk at The Science MuseumVideoPresentation
Peter Landin: a computer scientist who inspired a generationPDFObituary
Richard Bornat wrote this obituary shortly after Landin’s death in 2009. It tells the story of someone with brave ideas from mathematics who was never satisfied with programming as it was. He didn’t publish much, but was often there as part of the discussion that birthed and developed the ideas.
The mechanical evaluation of expressionsPDFPaper
The next 700 programming languagesPDFPaper
Landin published this gem back in 1966. He analyzes the problem of defining a computer language and keenly dissects the issues with an inspiring clarity. He separates out syntax from the syntax tree, shows how they relate, and asserts the principle that the value of an expression should be based only on its subexpressions. This paper also argues that expression equivalencies should be considered vital. And as a side note, he invents significant whitespace. The paper is old, but still contains many insights that are not commonly heard.