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Language peer sets for OCAL:
United States
United States/1966
Designed 1966
1960s languages
Third generation
High Cold War
Genus Patterns
Specialised Languages
Patterns/United States
File-reflexive/United States
Content-reflexive/United States
Specialised Languages
Specialised Languages/1966
Specialised Languages/us


Pattern matching alnguage for cryptographic analysis 

alternate simple view
Country: United States
Designed 1966
Published: 1966
Genus: Patterns
Sammet category: Specialised Languages

for On-Line Cryptanalytic Aid Language

Edwards, MIT, 1966

Pattern matching language with array-matching capabilities and statistical calculations

"OCAL is a problem-oriented computer programming language with the general area of cryptanalysis as the problem domain. OCAL is basically a synthesis of the MAD and SNOBOL computer programming languages, combined with ideas taken from SLIP and PL/I. "

Language design followed experimentation with SNOBOL (but not SNOBOL 4) and METEOR (which had pattern ideas from COMIT), and their subsequent rejection. PL/I supplied compount structures and event-driven programming (ON...)

Related languages
MAD OCAL   Incorporated some features of
METEOR OCAL   Influence
PL/I OCAL   Incorporated some features of
SLIP OCAL   Incorporated some features of
SNOBOL3 OCAL   Incorporated some features of


  • Edwards, D.J. (1966) Edwards, D.J. "OCAS: On-line Cryptanalytic Aid System", MAC-TR-27, MIT Project MAC, May 1966. Online copy at MIT (via NCSTRL) Abstract Extract: The kind of aid a computer would provide Extract: ON-LINE CRYPTANALYTIC AID LANGUAGE Extract: OCAL Manual
  • Sammet, Jean E. (1969) Sammet, Jean E. "Computer Languages - Principles and History" Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall 1969. p.642. Extract: OCAL
  • Stock and Stock (1973) Stock, Marylene and Stock, Karl F. "Bibliography of Programming Languages: Books, User Manuals and Articles from PLANKALKUL to PL/I" Verlag Dokumentation, Pullach/Munchen 1973 423 Abstract
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