Danish Network for History and Philosophy of Computer Science (2017-2018)

Aims of the network

The history and philosophy of computer science are cross-disciplinary academic fields which have received increasing attention during the past decade. A large portion of the research has naturally focused on the US context. This network aims to initiate new research in Denmark by integrating international developments with the strong Danish tradition for history and philosophy of science conducted from a solid basis within the relevant science.

The network will draw upon Danish and international studies of e.g. history of computers and information technology and philosophy of computing in order to develop a new approach to the history and philosophy of computer science and computer scientists. Thus, the network will focus on the professionalization of computer science and on the social, political, and ethical conflicts and implications of the rise of computer science during the past decades. The activities of the network centers on the two focal points:

  1. The professionalization of computer science in Denmark, including the formation of academic institutions and the professionalization in the industry.
  2. Political and social visions for computer science in Denmark, including discussions of ethical and societal implications of computer science and discussions about computer literacy in education.


In May 2017, Rebecca Slayton (Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University) visited Copenhagen to meet with the network and give a public lecture.

In June 2017, Henrik visited the National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC to discuss with Paul Ceruzzi.

Also in June 2017, Henrik attended at the annual conference of the International Association for Philosophy of Computing (IACAP-2017) at Stanford University. He presented a joint paper with Mikkel on "Posing and Attacking Mathematical Problems: Human Mathematical Practice, Experimental Mathematics, and Proof Assistants".

In October 2017, Henrik attended the conference HaPoC 2017 in Brno, presenting joint work with Mikkel on Interactive Theorem Proving.

And in October 2017, Henrik visited the Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University to present in their STS seminar and discuss with Rebecca Slayton and others.

In November 2017, Mikkel visited the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and met with professor Deborah Johnson to discuss ethical perspectives on computer science and meet with members of the STS programme there.

On January 24 2018, the network organized an explorative workshop on "Big Data: Challenges and opportunities for epistemology and ethics?" in Copenhagen.

In March 2018, professor Thomas Haigh (University of Milwaukee) visited the network. Professor Haigh is an eminent historian of computer science and the author of a long series of seminal papers and books on the subjects, many of which were used in our recently completed BSc course on History of Computer Science. While in Copenhagen, we arranged a number of events with Tom Haigh:

  • On Tuesday March 20 at 5pm, Tom Haigh spoke on "Working on ENIAC: The Lost Labors of the Information Age" in the Danish Society for History of Science.
  • On Wednesday March 21 at 4pm, Tom Haigh spoke on "The History of UNIX in the History of Software" in a public lecture organized in collaboration with DIKU and ITU.
  • On Thursday March 22, Tom Haigh presented his ongoing research and book project in our Research Group on History and Philosophy of Science at DSE.

The Network ran out in April 2018, and the final report was submitted in August 2018. We are planning various research initiatives to follow up on the connections and inspiration gained from the network.