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Birth month for compiler writers

February 19th, 2012 No comments

Today is my birthday and an event from a long ago project springs to mind. All four of us from the UK arm of the team were born in February, one person on the same day as me (Happy Birthday Mick, where ever you are). This clustering of birth months led us to the obvious conclusion that the best compiler writers are born in February. Over the years I have retold this story to other compiler writers and found out their birth month. Now I will try and be a bit more scientific and have set up a survey (see below).

What counts as a compiler and what does somebody have to do to be considered a compiler writer (lets stay away from the issue of quality)? I would include software that performs computer language translation to another language (i.e., not just intermediate code or assembler) and static analysis of source provided it involved a lot of semantics (i.e., not working on the GUI that presents the data). I would exclude writing test cases, documentation, project management and maintenance (i.e., only fixing faults and dealing with customer queries).

I would classify a compiler writer as somebody who spent a substantial amount of their time working almost exclusively on writing a compiler. How substantial? Well, I think it ought o be possible to do something useful in about 4 months (I thought about saying 6 months, but decided to be generous.

Please take part, even if you do not consider yourself to be a compiler writer. A control group is always useful (perhaps readers of this blog have a preferred birth month)

I will make the numbers available and discuss them in a future article (probably in March).

What month were you born in?












Have you spent more than 4 months working full time on a compiler?




If anybody else is interested in running a survey, the surveys WordPress plugin allows more than one question to be specified and worked better than the other popular plugins for me (there is one bug that needs to be fixed: show_survey.php, line 51 should be:
$email_body = t("Hi,\nThere is a new result for the survey at %s...\n", $_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']); ).