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Language peer sets for C-10:
United States
United States/1949
Designed 1949
1940s languages
First generation
Immediate Post-War
Genus Initial orders
Initial orders
Fixed operation
Initial orders/1949
Fixed operation/1949
Initial orders/United States
Assemblers/United States
Fixed operation/United States


First Mnemonic codeset 

alternate simple view
Country: United States
Designed 1949
Genus: Initial orders
Sammet category: Multi-purpose

Holberton's instruction code for the BINAC, the first to use Mnemonic code.

It was said by Hopper to be "the basis for all subsequent programming languages" (She also said Holberton "was the best programmer" that she had ever known) Bergin 2000

from WTI:
"What are you most proud of?

The design of the instruction code of UNIVAC 1 and the code called C-10. I was in engineering in those days and I had just come from programming the ENIAC. That code was mostly designed at night while I was laying awake. My daughter said it was a form of psychology. I always stayed in the background and got most things done without people knowing that. I had to learn to speak out and it effects me today. We have sessions at the nursing home and I speak up and they all sit there."

From WP Obit:
"Late in life, Mrs. Holberton was credited for her efforts to make the language and equipment of programming user-friendly. After World War II, she created an instruction code, called C-10, that allowed for control of the new UNIVAC -- the first general-purpose computer -- by keyboarded commands rather than by dials and switches.

While engineers focused on the technology of computing, Mrs. Holberton lay awake nights thinking about human thought processes, she later told interviewers.

She came up with language using mnemonic characters that appealed to logic, such as "a" for add and "b" for bring. She designed control panels that put the numeric keypad next to the keyboard and persuaded engineers to replace the UNIVAC's black exterior with the gray-beige tone that came to be the universal color of computers."

Abbott (1995) "The C-10 Code simply listed the instruction set of for UNIVAC. It also contained a simplistic chart of the timing cycles of the UNIVAC (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta time). Gamma and delta was when the instructions were executed. Alpha and beta time took care of stepping from one instruction to the next instruction, and initializing the instruction execution process."

Wikipaedia lists Ida Rhodes as a co-creator

Related languages
ENIAC short code C-10   Influence
C-10 A-0   Compiled to
C-10 ACOMCAS   Evolution of
C-10 ARITH-MATIC   Compiled to
C-10 B-0   Compiled to
C-10 MATH-MATIC   Compiled to
C-10 SAP   Influence
C-10 X-1   Evolution of

  • Snyder, F E (1949) Snyder, F E "Proposed 7 pulse code for UNIVAC with odd checking pulse", 5/6/49 Bibliographical reference at the SI
  • Snyder, F E (1949) Snyder, F E "UNIVAC Instructions C-10", 6/10/49 Bibliographical reference at the SI
  • Snyder, F E (1949) Snyder, F E "UNIVAC Instructions code C-10" 5/6/49 Bibliographical reference at the SI
  • Snyder, F E (1950) Snyder, F E "UNIVAC Instructions Code C-10" 27 Jan 1950 Bibliographical reference at the SI
  • Greene, Mary Lou. (1957) Greene, Mary Lou. The edited record (to provide a record of the transition from MATH-MATIC pseudo-eode sentences through ARITH-MATIC pseudo-code operations into the final UNIVAC C-10 running program). 1957
  • Bemer, R (1958) Bemer, R "Techniques Department" - Translation to another language rather than compiling
          in [ACM] (1958) [ACM] CACM 1(07) July 1958
  • Abbott, Bob - Interview with Bob Abbott by George (1995) Abbott, Bob - Interview with Bob Abbott by George Michael in 1995 as part of "Stories of the Development of Large Scale Scientific Computing at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory" Extract: Anecdote
          in [ACM] (1958) [ACM] CACM 1(07) July 1958
  • Rachel K. Adelson, (1997) Rachel K. Adelson, "Programmed to Succeed: Betty Holberton", Association for Women in Computing, 1997 Online copy
          in [ACM] (1958) [ACM] CACM 1(07) July 1958
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