Language peer sets for ALPHA:
Designed 1960 ↑
1960s languages ↑
Early Cold War↑
Genus Algebraic ↑
HLL for STRETCH-HARVESTalternate simple view
Country: United States
Sammet category: Multi-purpose
Advanced code-breaking language built for the NSA for STRETCH-HARVEST, ran under the HOPS os.:
In response to government requests, IBM Research designed a system for a very large data processing application, known as the HARVEST system, including Stretch, which was delivered to the National Security Agency in the early 1960s. The combined Stretch-HARVEST Project created a milieu for developing new technologies, new hardware architectures, and new software to meet the challenges of both systems. One of the guiding principles of the project was to make programming easier by the use of a compiler to generate code automatically from statements in the user's language.
The ALPHA language design team created a very high level language featuring, among other things, the ability to create new alphabets beyond the system defined alphabets (e.g. English, decimal, integer, binary) and treat complex, heterogeneous data in high-level statements. In addition to an overview of Stretch-HARVEST, the talk will describe some of the lesser known aspects of the project the people and institutions involved, the political climate, and the shared knowledge, views, and value systems which were part of this interesting project at an interesting time in the history of computing.
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