Michael A. Jackson

British computer scientist

Michael A. Jackson (born 1936) is an independent computing consultant in London, England. He is also part-time researcher at AT&T Labs Research, Florham Park, NJ, U.S., and visiting research professor at the Open University in the UK.


  • The First Rule of Program Optimization: Don't do it.
    The Second Rule of Program Optimization – For experts only: Don't do it yet.
    • Jackson quoted in: Jon Louis Bentley (1988) More Programming Pearls: Confessions of a Coder. p. 61

About Michael A. JacksonEdit

  • Systems engineering as an approach and methodology grew in response to the increase size and complexity of systems and projects. It "recognizes each system is an integrated whole even though composed of diverse, specialized structures and sub-functions..." (Chestnut, 1965) This engineering approach to the management of complexity by modularization was re-deployed in the software engineering discipline in the 1960s and 1970s with a proliferation of structured methodologies that enabled the the analysis, design and development of information systems by using techniques for modularized description, design and development of system components. Yourdon and DeMarco's Structured Analysis and Design, SSADM, James Martin's Information Engineering, and Jackson's Structured Design and Programming are examples from this era. They all exploited modularization to enable the parallel development of data, process, functionality and performance components of large software systems. The development of object orientation in the 1990s exploited modularization to develop reusable software. The idea was to develop modules that could be mixed and matched like Lego bricks to deliver to a variety of whole system specifications. The modularization and reusability principles have stood the test of time and are at the heart of modern software development.
    • Peter Allen, Steve Maguire, Bill McKelvey (2011) The SAGE Handbook of Complexity and Management. p. 35

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