# Edsger Dijkstra Quotes

"

**There should be no such thing as boring mathematics.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Mathematics)

"

**The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offense.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Mind, Teaching)

"

**The traditional mathematician recognizes and appreciates mathematical elegance when he sees it. I propose to go one step further, and to consider elegance an essential ingredient of mathematics: if it is clumsy, it is not mathematics.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Elegance, Mathematics)

"

**The question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Computer, Question)

"

**The ability of discerning high quality unavoidably implies the ability of identifying shortcomings.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Quality, Ability)

"

**About the use of language: it is impossible to sharpen a pencil with a blunt axe. It is equally vain to try to do it with ten blunt axes instead.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

"

**The students that, like the wild animal being prepared for its tricks in the circus called "life", expects only training as sketched above, will be severely disappointed: by his standards he will learn next to nothing.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Being, Nothing, Students, Training, Will)

"

**Aim for brevity while avoiding jargon.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Brevity, Jargon)

"

**Object-oriented programming is an exceptionally bad idea which could only have originated in California.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Idea, Programming)

"

**Perfecting oneself is as much unlearning as it is learning.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Learning)

"

**Many mathematicians derive part of their self-esteem by feeling themselves the proud heirs of a long tradition of rational thinking; I am afraid they idealize their cultural ancestors.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Feeling, Mathematicians, Self, Thinking, Tradition)

"

**It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC: as potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Hope, Potential, Programming, Students)

"

**Program testing can be used to show the presence of bugs, but never to show their absence!**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Bugs, Testing)

"

**If 10 years from now, when you are doing something quick and dirty, you suddenly visualize that I am looking over your shoulders and say to yourself: 'Dijkstra would not have liked this', well that would be enough immortality for me.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Immortality, Now, Quick, Years)

"

**I mentioned the non-competitive spirit explicitly, because these days, excellence is a fashionable concept. But excellence is a competitive notion, and that is not what we are heading for: we are heading for perfection.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Excellence, Perfection, Spirit)

"

**The lurking suspicion that something could be simplified is the world's richest source of rewarding challenges.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Suspicion, World)

"

**Elegance is not a dispensable luxury but a factor that decides between success and failure.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Success, Failure, Elegance, Luxury)

"

**Don't compete with me: firstly, I have more experience, and secondly, I have chosen the weapons.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Experience, Weapons)

"

**The competent programmer is fully aware of the limited size of his own skull. He therefore approaches his task with full humility, and avoids clever tricks like the plague.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Humility)

"

**APL is a mistake, carried through to perfection. It is the language of the future for the programming techniques of the past: it creates a new generation of coding bums.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Mistake, Future, Language, Perfection, Programming)

"

**Mathematicians are like managers - they want improvement without change.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Change, Improvement, Managers, Mathematicians, Want)

"

**Programming is one of the most difficult branches of applied mathematics; the poorer mathematicians had better remain pure mathematicians.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Mathematicians, Mathematics, Programming)

"

**Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Simplicity)

"

**Teaching to unsuspecting youngsters the effective use of formal methods is one of the joys of life because it is so extremely rewarding.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Life, Teaching)

"

**Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes.**"

- Edsger Dijkstra

(Related: Computers, Science, Astronomy)