A Celebration of the life of

Kenneth Eugene Iverson

Ken Iverson was influential in many people’s lives. His passing in October of 2004
has been marked by several events that celebrated his life. The purpose of this web site
is to collect some materials together in a place where they may be accessed by people
looking for information about Ken and his contributions to computing, especially APL and J.

Ken and Donald McIntyre worked on what was to be
“The Story of APL & J” in 2004 through a series of
e-mail messages, with the last e-mail from Ken coming
in the morning of Saturday, 2004-10-16.
Donald, who passed away 2009 October 21, felt that he wass unable to continue work on
“The Story of APL & J” due to his poor health.
What remains is an autobiographical sketch of Ken.
Donald emphasizes that the text is in Ken’s own words.
The biographical sketch may be viewed here. – Updated 2008 7 14

Roger Hui wrote a paper, Remembering Ken Iverson to be published in VECTOR,
the British journal of APL and j. Additionally, he has very thoughtfully collected together
various eulogies that may be viewed here. – Updated 2010 1 25

Many people have recalled Quotations and Anecdotes of and
about Ken and their interactions with him over the years. Roger has collected a
number of those and created an interesting perspective of Ken’s life which continues to evolve and may be
viewed here. – Updated 2016 11 27

There was a evening of celebration at the Computer History Museum
and for that event Eugene McDonnell provided a collection of caricatures, created by his son
Peter, that portray some of the people who were influenced deeply by
Ken. You can view the resulting slide show here.
A video of the presentations at the celebration is available from
the Computer History Events pages.

A celebration was also held in Toronto. Catherine Lathwell has graciously spent a lot of work
on a video presentation of excerpts from that celebration. View it here.

The last 17 years of Ken’s life were devoted to creating and enhancing j, much of that
work can be seen in j help and reference material.

The British APL Association website VECTOR has
lots of information about APL, J, and K as well as many remembrances of Ken.

Various people have contributed things related to Ken and APL and j. A collection of
those, thoughtfully indexed by Roger Hui, can be viewed and/or downloaded here.

Michael Montalbano, in October 1982, published an IBM Technical Report describing an
APL History from a personal
perspective. Michael Montablano also wrote several poems and a song about APL which can be
heard here.

In Michael Montalbano’s personal perspective he recalls his first acquaintance with the notation
that has since become APL starting with a paper by Kenneth Iverson titled,
The Description of Finite Sequential Processes.

Two important papers describing the design and evolution of APL can be found at
The Design of APL

and The Evolution of APL
both authored by A.D. Falkoff and K.E. Iverson. These and many other relevant papers can be found in the
jsoftware papers repository.

For more links to the works of Ken Iverson, a good source of information is
Ken’s entry in wikipedia

It is my intent to collect together links to various publications of Ken’s, a start
is a source for PDF images of some early APL manuals.
The same source has manuals describing the IBM 5100
and the IBM5110 which were desktop “portable”
APL machines, first introduced in 1975, 6 years before the IBM PC.

Thanks for your visit.