How to Have a Fight

by John Adams

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It turns out that, well before Gordon Moore's careful plotting of data points into the future resulted in Moore's Law, Doug Engelbart made a similar, qualitative observation, and that Gordon Moore heard him make it.

Some places, that'd be fuel for an amazing flame-fest. But these two gentlemen are behaving in a civilized (if less entertaining manner). Engelbart isn't claiming he should be given credit for Moore's Law or that there's any sort of plagarism involved. Moore says he heard Englebart make this observation:
"The thing that I remember from it is his question if we would notice anything different if everything in the room was suddenly 10 times as large," he wrote in an e-mail message. "He answered it by suggesting that the chandelier might fall."

It's a small matter, perhaps, but it cheers me to see two people who could be fighting doing something sensible instead.

They made separate observations: Engelbart, around 1960, got a qualitative grasp on the speed of chip development. Moore, in 1965, studied the question, plotted data, and quantified the rate of increase. Both valuable, both important.

Oh, yes--and both a good example for the rest of us.

Nothing to see here, move along. Nothing to see.