Infoscience

Student project

Goto Statement Considered Harmful – A Paper Review

In 1968 Edsger Dijkstra wrote a letter to the editor of Communications of the ACM (CACM) stating his opinion about using the goto statement in programs. This letter would serve to begin a hot-headed debate within the programming community. This topic, however, would eventually stop being the subject of discussion as computer scientists shifted their attention to the structured programming paradigm, which forbids the use of the goto statement. This is especially manifested in the fact that some high level programming languages don’t even include the goto statement as part of their syntax. This literature review aims to expose the different perspectives on the use of goto. Although many computer scientists believe that goto can be useful in increasing the efficiency of a program, few are really convinced that the enhanced performance is worth the extra complexity. Here Dijkstra’s letter will be reviewed and further opinions will be discussed to give a comprehensive view on the current state of this debate.

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