Christopher Strachey (1916–1975) was a pioneering computer scientist and the founder of the Programming Research Group, now part of the Department of Computer Science at Oxford University. Although Strachey was keenly interested in the practical aspects of computing, it is in the theoretical side that he most indelibly left his mark, notably by creating with Dana Scott the denotational (or as he called it, ‘mathematical’) approach to defining the semantics of programming languages. Strachey also spent time writing complex programs and puzzles for various computers, such as a draughts playing program for the Pilot ACE in 1951. He developed some fundamental concepts of machine-independent operating systems, including an early suggestion for time-sharing, and was a prime mover in the influential CPL programming language. Strachey came from a notable family of intellectuals and artists, perhaps most famous for Christopher’s uncle Lytton, a writer and member of the Bloomsbury group.
We marked the occasion of 100 years since Christopher Strachey's birth on Saturday 19th November 2016, three days after his birthday, with a symposium of invited speakers. The morning looked back at Strachey’s life and works from a historical and technical perspective, and the afternoon concerned continuing research themes in Computer Science inspired by Strachey, at Oxford and elsewhere. This podcast series has recordings of these talks.