Archive for the 'IPSA' Category

A celebration! 50th years, the founding of IP Sharp Associates

November 14, 1970

Financial Post November 14, 1970

Happy 2014!  It’s April and 2014 still sounds astonishing.  More remarkable still, IP Sharp was founded 50 Years ago. Although APL was not immediately part of the plan in 1964, it would be shortly. In the ensuing years, many array programmers and young business people from around the world cut their baby teeth at this hub of Canadian innovation.

The rest, as they say, is History.

A celebration is in order and on behalf of the steadfast organisers, I’d like to draw your attention to a what promises to be a very special night in Toronto:

Keep the Date! October 4th, 2014, for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Founding of I. P. Sharp Associates: A reunion party is being planned in Toronto in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Founding of I. P. Sharp Associates in the Fall of 1964!!! Saturday October 4, 2014, 4:00pm to 8:00pm at the Panorama Room, Manulife Centre, Toronto with cocktail buffet & cash bar Details are posted and will be updated at 

And now, from the archives… for every beginning there is an end… and a new beginning.


From Olive’s IPSA diary – 1965




Kenneth E Iverson – Toronto Memorial November 18, 2004

Well, hot dang! Youtube decided I get more time.  They sent me a note last week: Congratulations! You can upload videos longer than 15 mins.  This is GREAT news and I’m celebrating by uploading the synopsis of Ken Iverson’s Toronto memorial service I made back in 2004 when I first fell in love with my video camera.



Happy New Year! The 2011 Photo Array!

I’m looking forward to a 2012 that is just as fast paced as 2011. And for whatever it’s worth, I didn’t blog as much as I did last year which is something you will notice in this post of photos. Yes indeed, a picture is worth 1000 words.

In fact, we only made 12 posts for 2011 and in spite of this low showing, my faithful readers, according to a report WordPress sent me last night:

This blog was viewed about 9,700 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

I’m thrilled! Rock on!

Happy New Year Everyone! Let’s kick some more ass in 2012.


Hélène Falardeau

As far as I understand it, Tom Gibson gave Hélène the best send-off ever.  And what I see from Twitter is that there are a few of you out there who know Tom.  As for me, my efforts to not be extremely sad, are not working…  Yet.

This is a reposting of Tom’s letter, which Terry Huff sent out on the Toronto Data Services Division listserv.

From: Tom Gibson []

Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2011 4:53 PM
Subject: Hélène Falardeau


Apologies for the “form” email, but it occurred to me while creating this obit for Hélène for the newspaper that many of you may miss it, so I have included it here. At the bottom of this email is a link to lovely blog post (and picture) from where Hélène last worked in Vancouver.

Please forward or post this to anyone you know who might have known Hélène.

Thank you. Tom


Hélène Falardeau died in her Vancouver home on Saturday October 8, 2011. She left us happy, at peace, and surrounded by those she loved and who cherished her.

Born in Montreal in 1951, Hélène moved to Toronto at age 14. She was very much the cool and protective older sister to brother Marc and sister Ann (Gosleigh), whom she adored. Hélène later worked in administration for companies such as Upjohn, Mercedes-Benz, the Quebec Government and Reuters. Hélène’s love of reading likely blossomed while working at Coles Bookstore during high school when she brought home Agatha Christie books to help then 13-year-old Marc learn to speak English. One summer Hélène worked as hiring coordinator for the then fledgling Cirque du Soleil the first year they came to Toronto. Other summers Hélène worked as an EKG technician in Chicago while staying with her dear friend Martha. It was during her high school years that Hélène’s “French-English-ness” took shape, and which is so much a part of her. Moving from Montreal to Toronto in the mid sixties, Hélène saw The Beatles in both of their Canadian concerts (1965 Montreal, 1966 Toronto) … one of those screaming girls right up front. Many in Toronto will remember Hélène through her work at Reuters where as Manager of Administration she was known for organizing spectacular Holiday parties, her amazing doodles (the beginnings of her artistic career), and adorning the walls with wonderful artwork. Hélène had style. In October 1998 Hélène moved to Nelson BC to be with Tom Gibson and be stepmother—friend she would say—to Chris and Danielle. Hélène worked in the art supply department at Cowan’s. It was in Nelson that the art inside Hélène emerged, and in a BIG way. Work from her first pen and ink show at the Glacier Gallery surprised many. Who expected such imaginings from a “little old lady from Toronto” (her words)? As an artist she created lifelong friendships with other Nelson artists who encouraged her (“go bigger”), and she earned acclaim for several art series (kimonos, slips, escapades, …). Several more shows, and colour, followed in her eight years in Nelson. Then to Vancouver with Tom. Yaletown, overlooking False Creek, in a very different but active and vibrant life. In Vancouver Hélène had fun working part time at Matchmaker for Hire in Vancouver. A Toronto-lover, it took her a few months to say “now I get Vancouver.” A couple weeks before Hélène died she added, “I love our home here.”

Hélène died from a cancer that struck her dramatically in the summer of 2007. The grace, dignity and resourcefulness with which she faced cancer is a remarkable but perfect expression of who Hélène is, and is something the many who love her can now find comfort in embracing. Please join us in celebrating Hélène’s life on Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 1-4pm. We are pleased to be able to host our celebration of Hélène at the Harrison Gallery, located at 901 Homer Street in Vancouver. In lieu of flowers please consider donating to InspireHeath, a Vancouver-centred, integrated cancer care organization who have helped Hélène in many ways ( Or just purchase a happy and bright, cut-flower bouquet to celebrate Hélène’s life in your home. Hélène would have liked that.


Here’s the blog post. Click the picture in it to see a beautiful picture showing Hélène after her hair started to grow back after chemo in 2008. The photo in the obit piece was taken in Vancouver in 2010.


Disruption 45 – Take that!

In 1997 a man by the name of Clayton M. Christensen published a book called The innovator’s dilemma: when new technologies cause great firms to fail.  This book canonized the concept of “disruptive technologies” which Christensen had cooked up to dispute the “technology mudslide hypothesis.”  If you’re up on your business  innovation theory, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

This is why being called disruptive is now a huge compliment.  Who got named as the Disruptor #45 this week by  Institutional Investor?  Our very own Simon Garland.  The article’s punch line?

The advent of higher-capacity machines promises to improve efficiency not only by handling more data but also by reducing programming complexity. But such gains are neither easy nor automatic for those who run these R&D races.

This is photo of Simon with Charlie Skelton last winter in NYC. This smile, is the ever polite and indulgent, “DO you really need to point that camera at me on the weekend?”


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Mourning Glen Wightman d. Jan 15, 2011

From In:File "Historical Information Products Newsletter" Reuters Internal Newsletter Issue no 3 December 1989 I still hear Glen’s voice in my head every single time I pack for a trip to any of the world’s financial centres.  You see, Glen was the guy who sent me on my first solo trip to London, UK to negotiate a data feed from Reuters Dockland’s data centre to Toronto sometime in the early 1990’s.

Take all your common sense with you,  you’re going to need it.

And then he laughed.

The laugh! Glen’s laugh can be described as a perfect mixture of glee and compassion accented with a touch the devil threw in for fun.

He had hired me fresh out of Art School as a programmer/analyst for the Reuters’ Master Reference Database, formerly owned by IP Sharp.  At the time, this database was analogous to a giant world wide directory for all public companies.  Yes.  All the public companies in the world.  In other words, Glen gave me a huge break.  And then he patiently tended to my rough edges for years as I struggled to find my place on his team.   You gotta love that guy.

Everyone loved that guy.

In the context of this blog, IP Sharp, a Canadian APL shop through and through, left several key legacies, including the data it housed and collected for years.  I expect this data now silently brings in millions and millions of dollars for its current owners. Glen was one of the guys who built this data.

And what makes us unique as an APL Array Language Community is that we’re still in touch.  And there are hundreds of us mourning this week, all over the world, as we face the challenges of everyday life, and say goodbye to a very special everyday guy.

My deep, deep sympathies go out to Glen’s family, especially to Juilette, Jacqueline, Melanie and Rosalind.  I’m so sorry.

Glen’s obit can be found here.

Expressions of sympathy may be made by making memorial donations to The Canadian Cancer Society or The Dorothy Ley Hospice.

Photo From In:File “Historical Information Products Newsletter” Reuters Internal Newsletter Issue no 3 December 1989.

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Gitte, Biology & Sharp APL (IPSA)

Gitte with Bob Smith (Sept 2009)

Some of you might think that I think this is just about the men. Though, I’m fairly certain that anyone who has actually met me in person is not fooled. But then again, my little inner voice just said:  Hey, Princess, you have a lot of readers now who have never met you face to face.

Anyway, to set the record straight:  it’s not just about the guys.  That’s a sarcastic little joke that someone very special helped me come up with and it makes me smile every day.

So, it’s not just about the guys.  This week we have the pleasure of Gitte Christensen and Morten Kromberg holding court in Toronto; I thought I’d celebrate by putting the few final touches on this short piece I made last year with Gitte where I ask her some personal questions.  Not only is Gitte as smart as a whip, she has fun and is willing to play along.

The truth is that Gitte and Morten have been very sportsperson like, and let me test out all sorts of ideas on them.  There are no words to describe how much this level of trust means to me and my endeavours.


Monkey see, monkey do

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, while I am obsessively logging everything, all my research to date, in a series of Open Office documents whose structure, unsurprisingly, resembles a relational database (hint, hint); Godzilla is boning up on his array programming vocabulary. He’s reading Jeff Boror’s, Q for Mortals if you must know.

Never fear, he and I are on our dogged mission to understand this subject from the match stick to the forest, even when the chips are down.

And speaking of match sticks, I’m going to make one of those observations that’s likely to irritate some of you. The thing of the thing is, that while we are super ready to talk about nuances with the various array language implementations in minutia detail or fight each other to the death over the nitty-gritty theoretical points, when I ask, Ok, but what can I DO with an array language? OR What IS a parallel processing problem? I’m sorry to say, that up until now, there has been what seems to me to be a stunned silence within the community.

Happy, happy me sees a steady stream of really cool applications and ideas coming in at this moment. I can’t wait to pick the best of the best for the ‘Top 10 Cool Things you can do with an Array Language’ page coming soon to this site!

And while I’m on the topic of interesting array language problems, yesterday I got to meet Hans Wobbe, an IPSA gent from the 1970’s who’s located right here in Toronto.  He’s thinking about the global Address Management problem.  And he’s so keen about arrays, he calls the world wide web, The Array.

Personally, I think he should have borrowed The Matrix which does, after all, have that stellar Canadian cast.  You see,  because the movie was so successful, ‘matrix’ has achieved high ranking in the commons and will likely make archetype status long before ‘array’.  And where this gets really yummy, is that the allusion opens doors to play with all kinds of metaphysical ideas, like the 6th dimension,  for example.  But that’s jut me.

Back to Hans and The Array.  Yesterday he gave me a precious gift; an education on Address Management and a tiny insight into who is interested in address data other than the post office.  And the answer is everybody who has a stake in either land or money. Not to mention the folks interested in time and space.



Watch out, Batman.


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