Dijkstra & Mathematics Inc.

Pretty funny, this is swiped from the Wikipedia entry for Dijkstra. He’s a pretty important figure in computer science.

“One of Dijkstra’s sidelines was serving as Chairman of the Board of the fictional Mathematics Inc., a company that he imagined having commercialized the production of mathematical theorems in the same way that software companies had commercialized the production of computer programs. He invented a number of activities and challenges of Mathematics Inc. and documented them in several papers in the EWD series. The imaginary company had produced a proof of the Riemann Hypothesis but then had great difficulties collecting royalties from mathematicians who had proved results assuming the Riemann Hypothesis. The proof itself was a trade secret (EWD 475). Many of the company’s proofs were rushed out the door and then much of the company’s effort had to be spent on maintenance (EWD 539). A more successful effort was the Standard Proof for Pythagoras’ Theorem, that replaced the more than 100 incompatible existing proofs (EWD427). Dijkstra described Mathematics Inc. as “the most exciting and most miserable business ever conceived” (EWD475). He claimed that by 1974 his fictional company was the world’s leading mathematical industry with more than 75 percent of the world market (EWD443).[7]”

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