ALGOL (2966/alg021)


ALGOrithmic Language 

for ALGOrithmic Language

family of languages designed to make for the most effective representation of procedural algorithms.

suitable for expressing a large class of numerical processes in a form sufficiently concise for direct automatic translation into the language of programmable automatic computers

Related languages
IAL => ALGOL   Renaming
ALGOL => ALGOL 58   Implementation

  • Backus, J. W. "The syntax and semantics of the proposed international algebraic language of the Zurich ACM-GAMM conference" view details
          in Proc. Int. Conf. Information Processing, Oldenbourg, München, 1960 view details
  • Bauer, Friedrich L. and Samelson, Klaus "The problem of a common language, especially for scientific numeral work" pp120-124 view details
          in 1959 IFIP Congress Paris, France view details
  • Poyen, J.; Vauquois, Bernard "A propos d'un langage universel" 132-137 view details
          in 1959 IFIP Congress Paris, France view details
  • Naur, P. et al "Report on the algorithmic language ALGOL 60" view details
          in [ACM] CACM 3(05) May 1960 view details
  • Sammet, Jean E "1960 Tower of Babel" diagram on the front of CACM January 1961 view details

          in [ACM] CACM 4(01) (Jan 1961) view details
  • Naur, Peter (ed) "Revised Report on the Algorithmic Language ALGOL 60 view details
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming" (4) 1964 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • Rosen, Saul "Programming Systems and Languages: a historical Survey" (reprinted in Rosen, Saul (ed) Programming Systems & Languages. McGraw Hill, New York, 1967) view details Extract: IAL, Algol 58
    Until quite recently, large scale computers have been mainly an American phenomenon. Smaller computers were almost worldwide right from the beginning. An active computer organization GAMM had been set up in Europe, and in 1957 a number of members of this organization were actively interested in the design of Algebraic compilers for a number of machines. They decided to try to reach agreement on a common language for various machines, and made considerable progress toward the design of such a language. There are many obvious advantages to having generally accepted computer independent problem oriented languages. It was clear that a really international effort in this direction could only be achieved with United States participation. The President of GAMM wrote a letter to John Carr who was then President of the ACM, suggesting that representatives of ACM and of GAMM meet together for the purpose of specifying an international language for the description of computing procedures.
    The ACM up to that time had served as a forum for the presentation of ideas in all aspects of the computer field. It had never engaged in actual design of languages or systems.
    In response to the letter from GAMM, Dr. Carr appointed Dr. Perlis as chairman of a committee on programming languages. The committee set out to specify an Algebraic compiler language that would represent the American proposal at a meeting with representatives of GAMM at which an attempt would be made to reach agreement on an internationally accepted language. The ACM committee consisted of representatives of the major computer manufacturers, and representatives of several Universities and research agencies that had done work in the compiler field. Probably the most active member of the committee was John Backus of IBM. He was probably the only member of the committee whose position permitted him to spend full time on the language design project, and a good part of the "American Proposal" was based on his work.
    The ACM committee had a number of meetings without any very great sense of urgency. Subcommittees worked on various parts of the language and reported back to the full committee, and in general there was little argument or disagreement. There is after all very general agreement about the really basic elements of an Algebraic language. Much of the language is determined by the desirability of remaining as close as possible to Mathematical notation. This is tempered by experience in the use of computers and in the design of compilers which indicates some compromises between the demands of desirable notation and those of practical implementation.
    At one meeting of the committee Dr. Bauer, one of the leaders of the GAMM effort, presented a report on the proposed European language. Among other things they proposed that English language key words, like begin, end, for, do, be used as a world-wide standard. Of course this is something the American committee would never have proposed, but it seemed quite reasonable to go along with the Europeans in this matter. Although some of the notations seemed strange, there were very few basic disagreements between what GAMM was proposing, and what the ACM committee was developing. Dr. Bauer remarked that the GAMM organization felt somewhat like the Russians who were meeting with constant rebuffs in an effort to set up a summit meeting. With such wide areas of agreement why couldn't the ACM-GAMM meeting take place?
    Although there is quite general agreement about the basic elements of an Algebraic language, there is quite considerable disagreement about how far such a language should go, and about how some of the more advanced and more difficult concepts should be specified in the language. Manipulation of strings of symbols, direct handling of vectors, matrices, and multiple precision quantities, ways to specify segmentation of problems, and the allocation and sharing of storage; these were some of the topics which could lead to long and lively discussion. The ACM language committee decided that it was unreasonable to expect to reach an agreement on an international language embodying features of this kind at that time. It was decided to set up two subcommittees. One would deal with the specification of a language which included those features on which it was reasonable to expect a wide range of agreement.
    The other was to work toward the future, toward the specification of a language that would really represent the most advanced thinking in the computer field.
    The short-range committee was to set up a meeting in Europe with representatives of GAMM. Volunteers for work on this committee would have to arrange for the trip to Europe and back, and were therefore limited to those who worked for an organization that would be willing to sponsor such a trip. The ACM was asked to underwrite the trip for Dr. Perlis.
    The meeting of the ACM and GAMM subcommittees was held in Zurich in the spring of 1958, and the result was a Preliminary report on an International Algebraic Language, which has since become popularly known as Algol 58.
          in [AFIPS JCC 25] Proceedings of the 1964 Spring Joint Computer Conference SJCC 1964 view details
  • Goldstein, M. "Computer Languages" The American Mathematical Monthly, Vol. 72, No. 2, Part 2: Computers and Computing Feb., 1965 pp141-146 view details Extract: Languages scene
    An important step in artificial language development centered around the
    idea that i t is desirable to be able to exchange computer programs between
    different computer labs or at least between programmers on a universal level.
    In 1958, after much work, a committee representing an active European computer
    organization, GAMM, and a United States computer organization, ACNI,
    published a report (updated two years later) on an algebraic language called
    ALGOL. The language was designed to be a vehicle for expressing the processes
    of scientific and engineering calculations of numerical analysis. Equal stress was
    placed on man-to-man and man-to-machine communication. It attempts to
    specify a language which included those features of algebraic languages on
    which it was reasonable to expect a wide range of agreement, and to obtain a
    language that is technically sound. In this respect, ALGOL Set an important
    precedent in language definition by presenting a rigorous definition of its syntax.
    ALGOL compilers have also been written for many different computers.
    It is very popular among university and mathematically oriented computer
    people especially in Western Europe. For some time in the United States, it will
    remain second to FORTRAN, with FORTRAN becoming more and more like
    The largest user of data-processing equipment is the United States Government.
    Prodded in Part by a recognition of the tremendous programming investment
    and in part by the suggestion that a common language would result only
    if an active Sponsor supported it, the Defense Department brought together
    representatives of the major manufacturers and Users of data-processing equipment
    to discuss the problems associated with the lack of standard programming
    languages in the data processing area. This was the start of the conference on
    Data Systems Languages that went on to produce COBOL, the common business-
    oriented language. COBOL is a subset of normal English suitable for expressing
    the solution to business data processing problems. The language is
    now implemented in various forms on every commercial computer.
    In addition to popular languages like FORTRAN and ALGOL, we have
    some languages used perhaps by only one computing group such as FLOCO,
    IVY, MADCAP and COLASL; languages intended for student problems, a
    sophisticated one like MAD, others like BALGOL, CORC, PUFFT and various
    versions of university implemented ALGOL compilers; business languages in addition
    to COBOL like FACT, COMTRAN and UNICODE; assembly (machine)
    languages for every computer such as FAP, TAC, USE, COMPASS; languages to simplify problem solving in "artificial intelligence," such as the so-called list
    processing languages IPL V, LISP 1.5, SLIP and a more recent one NU SPEAK;
    string manipulation languages to simplify the manipulation of symbols rather
    than numeric data like COMIT, SHADOW and SNOBOL; languages for
    command and control problems like JOVIAL and NELIAC; languages to simplify
    doing symbolic algebra by computer such as ALPAK and FORMAC;
    a proposed new programming language tentatively titled NPL; and many,
    many, more. A veritable tower of BABEL!
          in [AFIPS JCC 25] Proceedings of the 1964 Spring Joint Computer Conference SJCC 1964 view details
  • Sammet, Jean E., "Roster of Programming Languages 1967" view details Extract: ALGOL
    A language developed jointly by people in the United States and in Europe. Suitable for expressing solutions to problems requiring numeric computations and some logical processes. Second version, ALGOL 60 (which had a few revisions in 1962), is the current language.  Has no officially defined input/output.  Revised ALGOL 60 (with some input/output specifications added) is undergoing ballot ting as ISO Standard.
          in Computers & Automation 16(6) June 1967 view details
  • Bemer, RW "A politico-Social History of Algol" pp 151-238 view details
          in Computers & Automation 16(6) June 1967 view details
  • Rice, John K. and Rice, John R. "Introduction to computer science" New York Holt, Rinehart & Winston 1969 view details
          in Computers & Automation 16(6) June 1967 view details
  • Stock, Karl F. "A listing of some programming languages and their users" in RZ-Informationen. Graz: Rechenzentrum Graz 1971 12 view details Abstract: 321 Programmiersprachen mit Angabe der Computer-Hersteller, auf deren Anlagen die entsprechenden Sprachen verwendet werden kennen. Register der 74 Computer-Firmen; Reihenfolge der Programmiersprachen nach der Anzahl der Herstellerfirmen, auf deren Anlagen die Sprache implementiert ist; Reihenfolge der Herstellerfirmen nach der Anzahl der verwendeten Programmiersprachen.

    [321 programming languages with indication of the computer manufacturers, on whose machinery the appropriate languages are used to know.  Register of the 74 computer companies;  Sequence of the programming languages after the number of manufacturing firms, on whose plants the language is implemented;  Sequence of the manufacturing firms after the number of used programming languages.]
          in Computers & Automation 16(6) June 1967 view details
  • Rosen, S. "Programming Systems and Languages 1965-1975" view details Abstract: In spite of impressive gains by PL/I, Fortran and Cobol remain the languages in which most of the world's production programs are written and will remain so into the foreseeable future. There is a great deal of theoretical interest in Algol 68 and in extensible languages, but so far at least they have had little practical impact. Problem-oriented languages may very well become the most important language development area in the next five to ten years. In the operating system area all major computer manufacturers set out to produce very ambitious multiprogramming systems, and they all ran into similar problems. A number of university projects, though not directly comparable to those of the manufacturers, have contributed greatly to a better understanding of operating system principles. Important trends include the increased interest in the development of system measurement and evaluation techniques, and increased use of microprogramming for some programming system functions. DOI
          in [ACM] CACM 15(07) (July 1972) view details
  • Sammet, Jean E., "Programming languages: history and future" view details
          in [ACM] CACM 15(06) (June 1972) view details
  • Computer Oral History Collection, 1969-1973, 1977 Interviewee: Morton Bernstein Interviewer: Robina Mapstone Date: March 14, 1973 Archives Center, National Museum of American History view details Extract: IAL, Algol 58, Algol 60
    There was a tremendous number of ideas floating around at the time. Around that rime, Al Perlis had come through RAND and talked about how to really do all this. He stimulated a lot of people to at least think about it if not do something about it. I got deeper and deeper into the whole mystique of language design and compiler construction, and began to follow the first international effort?IAL?rather closely. RAND, SDC and some other organizations decided that the International Algebraic Language, which was eventually called ALGOL 58, was something of interest. Even though it had some flaws and ambiguities in it, at least it looked like a reasonable improvement over FORTRAN. From it came JOVIAL at SDC.
    ALGOL 58 came along and excited a lot of people, but neither ALGOL 58 nor ALGOL 60 was really accepted in this country, because by that time FORTRAN was really rolling down the road. SHARE had promoted, or helped promote FORTRAN II rather heavily and then along came FORTRAN III which in retrospect was a rather idiotic attempt.
    So FORTRAN III was born and it allowed you to do much of what JOVIAL did, dropping into assembly language by adding a statement that allowed you to pop in and out of assembly from FORTRAN, which everybody knew was a disaster.
    I have the strong recollection that FORTRAN III actually saw the light of day, but it died. [13] It just didn't have it?there were people who were much closer to FORTRAN because I had begun to move away from FORTRAN per se and pursue other language oriented things. I was looking at the SDC's JOVIAL. I was trying to build some small compilers for open shop languages at RAND at the time and then I got involved in the SHARE ALGOL effort in '58-'59.
         Well, there was a letter written by, I believe it was Rudishauser, to possibly Al Perlis through the ACM[15], and said the world was going off in a thousand different directions with this language stuff. Maybe we ought to get together, the Europeans and the Americans, and design one internationally based language that we would all agree upon, and maybe we will solve some of the world's nastier problems, particularly in program communications, if we have a common source language. We may end up getting real power in the world of commonality, usability, and things like that.
    I have to back up. I just remembered something. There was another effort going on in SHARE called UNCOL: Universal Computer Oriented Language, which I got my fingers into. As a result of that, the ACM appointed a group, and I don't know whether Perlis was the chairman of the group, but I believe he was. I know John Backus was a member of the group. And I am trying to remember who the others were. Joe Wegstein may well have been a member. I know he was on ALGOL 60. I don't know whether he was on '58. Anyway, the group met in Zurich and sat down and designed a language. What they came back with was ALGOL '58. And they had done it very, very swiftly. Everyone came with their own ideas; there was an awful lot of argument and compromise. But it wasn't a terribly bad language. It had some ambiguities and some holes, e.g., they completely left the I/O out, so that was up to the implementer to decide how he had to do it on his local computer. It may not have been a full quantum improvement over FORTRAN, but it was an improvement. It incorporated an awful lot of things which you couldn't express or only expressed with great difficulty in FORTRAN. In IAL or ALGOL it was reasonably straight forward.
         There were a lot of us, including me, who sat around and looked at ALGOL and realized that it had a lot of faults. There are notational things that could be cleaned up. There are things that they forgot to put in which could be easily added. There are ambiguities that really had to be straightened out. It didn't have any I/O. And it is not all that easy to get common implementation because there are these vagaries of interpretation about what certain things meant. And I can't remember whether ALGOL 58 was a block structured language or not, but there were some misunderstandings about the scope of variables and all the other things that you run into when you start putting together rather complex language structures.

    After some early and some aborted attempts to implement ALGOL 58, which is when I got really involved with ALGOL through SHARE. We decided that ALGOL was a good thing and that SHARE was going to implement ALGOL 58, or at least convince IBM to help us. We would help specify how it was to be done, and IBM would do the implementation. Bob Bemer, Julian Green and several other people at IBM were building something called XTRAN, which was a tool that would help them implement almost any language, but in particular ALGOL. Things go to the point where it was clearly understood that ALGOL had to be cleaned up. And so the [original] group [that produced IAL] was to reconvene in late '59 or early '60. Their report came out in early '60, which is why it was called ALGOL 60, although they actually met in '59. Perlis was the chairman of the group that went to Paris to clean up IAL. That is when the name ALGOL was invented. [16] The earlier effort was designated ALGOL 58 because the new one was designated '60. I know Joe Wegstein was there. I know Julian Green was there. I know John Backus was there because that is when Backus Normal Form (before it became Backus Naur Form) was invented. I don't know whether it is apocryphal or what but the story goes that John finally figured out [how to represent the syntax of a programming language in a formal notation] on the plane over to Paris. I don't quite believe that, knowing John. He works very long and hard and maybe he had an of inspiration [on the plane] but the [representation problem] had been brewing as a result of '58. And the difficulties they had trying to get a syntax description pushed him into working that problem very hard. There were thirteen people [at the Paris meeting] in all. Seven from Europe and six from the United States, but I can't remember any of the rest of the six. The seventh U.S. representative was killed in an automobile accident just before he was supposed to go. I can't remember who that was [William Turanski].
    They [the U.S. committee] came back and Julian Green showed up at the SHARE meeting in March following the ALGOL 60 meeting, and he quietly presented me [as Chairman of the SHARE ALGOL Committee] with a draft copy of the report written in Backus NORMAL FORM. I looked at the thing and had a hemorrhage, because we had all been working very hard on the supposition that they were going to go away and fix ALGOL 58 and make it useful and wonderful and clean and beautiful and unambiguous. What they had done was gone away and thrown ALGOL 58 out the window and started clean again. They came up with a whole new completely incompatible language. People who had implemented ALGOL 58 in any shape or form really had thrown their money away because that was no longer going to be the international language, ALGOL 60 was. The compatibility was just not there. I got very, very upset. I wrote Dr. Perlis, who was then at Carnegie Tech, a rather harsh and nasty letter about dereliction of duty and a few odd things like that. I'm sure there is a copy of it somewhere in RAND. I couldn't get it [mailed] out of the building first time I tried. There was a lady who controlled all outgoing mail from the RAND Corporation. Her primary job was to see that no classified information was sent out without proper protection and was going to the recipient who knew how to handle it. She was also the guardian of the corporate morals, ethics and language and my letter was rather harsh. I had gone to Paul Armer and said, "I am going to send this very nasty letter. Be warned. Apparently, he saw it and said, "If that is what you want to say, okay, that is what you want to say." The next morning when I came in the letter hadn't gone out. We had a minor battle inside RAND convincing them I had every right to say what I was saying, both as a member of the RAND Corporation staff and representing my chairmanship of the SHARE ALGOL Committee. Finally, it got out the door. And I will never forget Perlis' answer scribbled on the bottom of my original
    letter that said in essence, "Go away, you bother me or you don't bother me." But I think that was the death knell for ALGOL 60 and for the concept of ALGOL in this country.

         Maybe the death knell of any kind of universal language.

         The basic problem was you can't get thirteen guys together and in six days invent the world. And it wasn't the right flavor of people. The mix was all wrong. I have yet to be able to plow through the wondrous and glorious [latest] ALGOL report. But it is probably a major improvement. It is far more consistent, has far fewer ambiguities, and many well be one of the most powerful and delightful programming languages in the world. If you could only understand the description. It is a terribly, terribly complex thing and you must spend many hours studying it in order to get any appreciation out of it. But it was done by a fairly small group over a long period of time who really honed and worked the problem.

    Julian Green, Joe Wegstein and I had a rather uproarious session which I didn't find very uproarious. I got rather upset when I heard the stories of how ALGOL 60 was created. It was like putting a piece of legislation through Congress rather than a bunch of scientists getting together and saying, "What's best? What's cleanest? What's purest? What really is scientifically or technologically the best possible thing, the apotheosis of our skill and our knowledge." Instead, what they did was barter as in, "If you will let me put this in, I will let you put that in. No, no. I am not going to vote for your thing if you are going to argue with me about that thing." Joe Wegstein was sitting there telling me that when things got out of order he would slam his hand down on the table and bring everybody to silence by shaking them up. It doesn't sound to me the way you design a language. You go away and the think about it for a while. Think through the problems: What is the objective of the whole thing? Who are we trying to get to use it? How would you like them to be able to use it? Are there any implementation aspects that you might take into account? Can this thing be implemented at all on the existing computer? Must it wait for the next generation? Things like that. That wasn't the kind of considerations that they made. Now they may have had all those considerations in the back of their mind. And maybe I am being over-critical, but I believe they blew it.

    They just destroyed whatever first, good step they had taken by not going after ALGOL 58, as impotent as it may have been in their two year further down the pike view of the world. Who cared if it didn't have "own" variables. Nobody really understood what they were all about anyway. They probably represent one tenth of one percent of the utility of a true language. The decision that all procedures had to be recursive was an interesting concept, but not something you lay on the world before they are thoroughly and completely educated in the value and use and the need, and where you may or may not want to get into things like that. And they just came out with all this beautiful, gorgeous?not terribly pragmatic?inconsistent language. And then they did other wondrous and glorious things. They said, we will have the publication language and we leave to the implementer the hardware representation. And that is where we had great fun in SHARE. I must have spent sixty or seventy hours sitting in on arguments, chairing a committee, trying to satisfy all the diverse points of view about a SHARE hardware representation for ALGOL 60. Up to this time SHARE had a resolution which blessed the whole thing. And it was subsequent to that that I became completely disenchanted with the whole thing. The deeper I got into it, the angrier I got, and finally introduced a resolution that SHARE withdraw its original resolution and castigate the idiots who had done that, rather soundly. It didn't get that strongly worded, but we withdrew our original commendation at ACM and the [other] parties involved were going off on various crusade to create an ALGOL international language.

         What was the SHARE resolution?

         I think it ended up just withdrawing SHARE's original resolution. It said: We no longer bless it, we don't care. SHARE no longer has any interest in ALGOL?particularly ALGOL 60.

         But the language did go on, and is still extant today?

         ALGOL 60: yes, people still talk about it. It may be used in a few universities.

         Is there not a language called ALGOL which is in use today?

         Yes. In fact, there is still some ALGOL 60 compilers around. How much of ALGOL 60 they really cover is not clear to me. SHARE actually did eventually, after I gave up, produce [a compiler]. This was a SHARE effort. We decided that we didn't have much of a chance to convince IBM [to implement ALGOL]. IBM was completely antithetical to ALGOL by this time. They had gotten turned off and put most of their interest in FORTRAN. We had essentially been told was that IBM was not going to implement an ALGOL processor as an IBM supported language. They said, "If you guys want to do something, build your own compiler with blessings. We'll even help you." Julian Green and Rex Franciotti were two guys that I interfaced with from IBM, who were trying to build certain pieces of the ALGOL compiler for us. I had given up on trying to keep a cooperative effort going. I had worked rather hard building one piece with a guy at Lockheed in Sunnyvale. We would get together occasionally and check out code to get this and that going. And then somebody would turn up and hadn't done their job, so by that time I got sick and tired of the whole thing and said, "To hell with you guys." I thought that the whole business of trying to get a cooperative ALGOL compiler produced was an abortion. But some people stuck by it, particularly people at Oak Ridge and I can't remember where the other guy was from. I guess he was at Rocketdyne and had a certain personal dedication to the whole thing. Marjorie Lisky and he eventually put together an operable ALGOL compiler which she offered to distribute through SHARE. I don't know how many people took her up on that and I don't know if it ever really worked. It took umpteen thousand passes and probably worked reasonably well. It created at least one social upset. As a result of Julian Green and Marjorie Lisky working so closely together on ALGOL, both divorced their spouses and married each other.

         Well, that means they worked well together.

          in [ACM] CACM 15(06) (June 1972) view details
  • 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 24 view details Abstract: PREFACE  AND  INTRODUCTION
    The exact number of all the programming languages still in use, and those which are no longer used, is unknown. Zemanek calls the abundance of programming languages and their many dialects a "language Babel". When a new programming language is developed, only its name is known at first and it takes a while before publications about it appear. For some languages, the only relevant literature stays inside the individual companies; some are reported on in papers and magazines; and only a few, such as ALGOL, BASIC, COBOL, FORTRAN, and PL/1, become known to a wider public through various text- and handbooks. The situation surrounding the application of these languages in many computer centers is a similar one.

    There are differing opinions on the concept "programming languages". What is called a programming language by some may be termed a program, a processor, or a generator by others. Since there are no sharp borderlines in the field of programming languages, works were considered here which deal with machine languages, assemblers, autocoders, syntax and compilers, processors and generators, as well as with general higher programming languages.

    The bibliography contains some 2,700 titles of books, magazines and essays for around 300 programming languages. However, as shown by the "Overview of Existing Programming Languages", there are more than 300 such languages. The "Overview" lists a total of 676 programming languages, but this is certainly incomplete. One author ' has already announced the "next 700 programming languages"; it is to be hoped the many users may be spared such a great variety for reasons of compatibility. The graphic representations (illustrations 1 & 2) show the development and proportion of the most widely-used programming languages, as measured by the number of publications listed here and by the number of computer manufacturers and software firms who have implemented the language in question. The illustrations show FORTRAN to be in the lead at the present time. PL/1 is advancing rapidly, although PL/1 compilers are not yet seen very often outside of IBM.

    Some experts believe PL/1 will replace even the widely-used languages such as FORTRAN, COBOL, and ALGOL.4) If this does occur, it will surely take some time - as shown by the chronological diagram (illustration 2) .

    It would be desirable from the user's point of view to reduce this language confusion down to the most advantageous languages. Those languages still maintained should incorporate the special facets and advantages of the otherwise superfluous languages. Obviously such demands are not in the interests of computer production firms, especially when one considers that a FORTRAN program can be executed on nearly all third-generation computers.

    The titles in this bibliography are organized alphabetically according to programming language, and within a language chronologically and again alphabetically within a given year. Preceding the first programming language in the alphabet, literature is listed on several languages, as are general papers on programming languages and on the theory of formal languages (AAA).
    As far as possible, the most of titles are based on autopsy. However, the bibliographical description of sone titles will not satisfy bibliography-documentation demands, since they are based on inaccurate information in various sources. Translation titles whose original titles could not be found through bibliographical research were not included. ' In view of the fact that nany libraries do not have the quoted papers, all magazine essays should have been listed with the volume, the year, issue number and the complete number of pages (e.g. pp. 721-783), so that interlibrary loans could take place with fast reader service. Unfortunately, these data were not always found.

    It is hoped that this bibliography will help the electronic data processing expert, and those who wish to select the appropriate programming language from the many available, to find a way through the language Babel.

    We wish to offer special thanks to Mr. Klaus G. Saur and the staff of Verlag Dokumentation for their publishing work.

    Graz / Austria, May, 1973
          in [ACM] CACM 15(06) (June 1972) view details
  • Allen, F. and Schwartz, J. review of Sammet and Lee HOPL conference end banquet excerpts view details Abstract: The ACM-SIGPLAN History of Programming Languages Conference held in Los Angeles on June 1-3, 1978, was videotaped and excerpts of the presentations are available on two tapes; these and two tapes from the banquet provide brief but penetrating glimpses of the people most involved in the development of the 13 languages covered. At the conference and in the proceedings these leading formulators of the history of programming languages describe how their language was developed -- the historical setting of the work and how and why decisions were made. The videotape excerpts provide a summary of these descriptions.

    After introductory remarks, Jean Sammet, the Conference and Program Committee Chairman, introduces the keynote speaker and "the third programmer of the first large scale digital computer, Mark I," Capt. Grace Hopper of the US Navy. Capt. Hopper describes the very early history -- combining personal recollections and technical observations. It is an excellent historical talk, precisely establishing the milieu existing in the 1940s and early 50s, when the concept of using a computer to create programs was just emerging.

    The FORTRAN presentation by John Backus emphasizes the importance of object efficiency for FORTRAN acceptance. He states that language design was never considered a problem; the real problem was to consistently produce object programs as efficient as hand-coded ones. The presentation captures the clear and unwavering focus of Backus's original team on that goal: a focus and dedication which characterized the direction of one of the most significant software projects in the history of computers.

    The controversies in the committee designing ALGOL 60 are re-enacted in miniature on these tapes. Alan Perlis describes the American contributions, concluding that ALGOL has Influenced all languages since that time. "It's the mother's milk of us all." Peter Naur describes the European contributions and the origins of recursion in the language. A lively floor discussion involving John McCarthy, John Backus, and Fritz Bauer ensues. The Algol 60 committee got involved in "academic log rolling" according to McCarthy who also points out that the committee decision not to consider implementation led to a language which was not implementable as a whole. It was assumed that "everyone was a gentleman and none would propose something he didn't know how to implement. However there was no guarantee the combination was implementable."

    The excerpt on the LISP lecture by John McCarthy emphasizes the features of the language and is an excellent description of its intellectual sources. Jean Sammet in presenting COBOL also clearly defines the influences on the language and how and why the choices were made in a series of committee meetings. These choices were very much colored by the decision to take "a short range composite approach good for at least a year or two."

    The tapes show how differently some of these important languages developed. According to Douglas Ross, APT evolved out of application requirements; by contrast, the major features of JOVIAL were developed in a few minutes, relates Jules Schwartz, its sole designer. Geoffrey Gordon tells how GPSS also grew from feedback from application users. SIMULA, developed by Kristen Nygaard and Ole-Johan Dahl, didn't even start as a programming language. Charles Baker discusses the development of JOSS, and Thomas Kurtz, BASIC -- intended to make learning to program analogous to learning to drive a car: by doing it.

    PL/I was the largest language represented at the conference. According to presenter, George Radin, much of the complexity and size is due to the necessity of defining the result of all operations on mixed types and to implicit typing. The excerpts of the presentations on SNOBOL by Ralph Griswold and APL by Kenneth Iverson establish the specific motivations for those languages: in both cases conserving human resources was considered very important.

    The conference banquet tapes contain anecdotes by the conference speakers and by master of ceremonies Bernard Galler. These entertaining historical asides and footnotes sometimes give more insight into the how and why things happened than the more scholarly analyses. For example, George Radin's story about the PL/I committee's ordering pizza -- the pizza had everything anyone wanted -- says a great deal about how the committee functioned when designing the language.

    These tapes constitute an important historical record. Unfortunately, the quality of the tapes is less than desired. They were not professionally produced and the picture quality is often quite poor. Still-photos by Robert McClure and Richard Wexelblat are used where the videotape is inadequate. However, the excerpts have been well selected by J.A.N. Lee, Jean Sammet, and Henry Tropp.

    In his summary Fred Brooks says that "the best thing about this conference is the character set." He also points out that the presentations on the languages designed by a committee emphasized the process, whereas the presentations on single-author languages emphasized technical issues. These tapes capture the factors that have made the history: the personalities, the process, and the technology. They are interesting now and will be invaluable to future historians of the pioneering period of language development.
          in ACM Computing Reviews March 1982 view details
  • Smillie, K. W. review of Perlis 1978 (Algol) view details Abstract: The present paper gives an excellent summary of the development of ALGOL, with the emphasis on the American contribution from the late 1950s until after the 1960 meeting in Paris. The paper begins with a brief summary of the early American experience with algebraic languages and the formation of the ACM committee in 1957. The account of the Zurich meeting in 1958 shows clearly the benefits of the cooperation between the Americans who had already implemented several algebraic languages and the Europeans with their interest in the design of an international language. The important role of the Communications of the ACM in publishing both the ALGOL 58 and ALGOL 60 reports, algorithms in ALGOL, and papers dealing with the language is quite clear from this paper.

    The formal paper is followed by the more informal transcripts of both the author's paper and that of Peter Naur on the European side of ALGOL, which include several summary tables, fragments of ALGOL programs, and about a dozen photographs, mostly taken at ALGOL meetings. These are followed by a transcript of the question and answer session and brief biographies of Perlis and Naur. A brief summary of the language appears in Appendix A of the text.

    Those readers who like pithy quotations will like Perlis' statement that " [ programs ] are articles of commerce in a society of users and machines" and that of an unnamed computer scientist in the language summary that "ALGOL was indeed an achievement: it was a significant advance over most of its successors."

    ALGOL is one of the most important programming languages because of its wide use, its influence on the design of other languages, and the stimulus it gave to the formal definition of languages. Alan Perlis has written a worthy account of one aspect of its history. His polished style and quiet humor have added immeasurably to the content of his paper.

          in ACM Computing Reviews March 1982 view details
  • Steel, T. B. review of Wexelblat 1982 view details Abstract: This compendium is a magnificent book, belongs on the shelf of every information processing professional, and should be required reading for anyone who is to be granted a degree in computer science. While the book purports to be the record of the ACM SIGPLAN Conference on the History of Programming Languages held in Los Angeles in 1978, it is rather more than just that. It is an impressionist painting of a longvanished world whose inhabitants created a structure that has a profound influence, not only today but well into the foreseeable future, on the way all our institutions, commercial, governmental, or academic, conduct their affairs. The languages used to prepare computer programs dictate in many respects the thought patterns of the programmers, the questions they ask their users, the difficulty of implementing particular algorithms, and thus to a considerable extent what actually gets done. Beyond that, while it is premature to predict detailed effects, the consequences to the next generation of being taught these languages in school are certain to be enormous. The volume under review presents an account of how this structure came to be the way it is as seen through the eyes of some of the individuals responsible.

    It is a difficult book to review adequately. One must ask if it conveys the same message to that vast majority of information processing specialists who were not in the business at the time of the events recounted as it does to those of us who played an active role in some of the developments as they happened. Judicious inquiry of younger readers of the book suggests that rather more of the informal flavor comes through than one might suspect at first. In that sense the book "tells it like it was," although some of the text makes it quite clear that programming language designers have the same kind of selective and prismatic memories that other people have.

    The plan of the book is straightforward. Thirteen specific languages were selected by the conference organizers, and the book contains, for each language: a formal paper; a transcript of the presentation; a transcript of remarks by a designated discussant; a transcript of a subsequent question and answer session; the full text of all questions submitted; a biography of the authors. In addition there is the full text of the Keynote Address presented by Captain Grace Murray Hopper, itself required reading, and a series of appendices, including summaries of each language.

    As stated in the introductory material on the organization of the conference, the criteria for selection of the languages to be included were: "that the languages 1) were created and in use by 1967; 2) remain in use in 1977; and 3) have had considerable influence on the field of computing." The 1967 cutoff was to insure at least ten years perspective. The result of applying these criteria was:

    ALGOL 60

    This general review cannot pursue the specific language chapters; that is a task for individual reviews elsewhere in CR. Some overall comments are in order, however. The formal papers are not simply personal recollections of the authors. An organized procedure was established to guide each author in preparing an account according to established historical practice, thus maximizing the archival value of the papers. It appears to have worked, for the authors systematically -- and in some cases, apparently, painfully -- searched for old records, letters, and memoranda. The vignettes that surface therefrom are fascinating.

    No one should be surprised that the accounts of the camel (designed by committee) languages, ALGOL 60 and COBOL, have a somewhat different flavor from the others. There is a gold mine for students of decision making processes in this book. The conference organizers are to be commended for providing two accounts of ALGOL 60, one from the American and one from the European point of view. The contrasting perceptions and the almost recursive discussion are both intriguing and delightful.

    This reviewer's one regret is that it was impossible to capture and document the conversations that occurred over the coffee cups and in the corridors. In summary, this is a superb book, a must for all computer professionals. It is also one of the very few records of a conference of any sort where the reader gets a feeling for what it was like to actually be there. This reviewer was there and reading this book almost four years after the conference brought back delightful memories with preternatural clarity.

          in ACM Computing Reviews March 1982 view details
  • Van Deusen, M. review of Wexelblat 1982 view details Abstract: The History of Programming Languages provides a glimpse into the language design process for thirteen important languages. Each language chosen had to have been designed before 1967, to allow historical perspective, and had to still be in use in 1977. The authors were invited because of their central positions in the language design efforts. FORTRAN is described by John Backus, ALGOL by Alan Perlis and Peter Naur, LISP by John McCarthy, COBOL by Jean Sammet, APT by Douglas Ross, JOVIAL by Jules Schwartz, GPSS by Geoffrey Gordon, SIMULA by Kristen Nygaard, JOSS by Charles Baker, BASIC by Thomas Kurtz, PL/I by George Radin, SNOBOL by Ralph Griswold, and APL by Kenneth Iverson. To provide some consistency among so many authors, language coordinators were given the responsibility of providing review and aid to the authors. The result is a work of amazingly high quality.

    The particular interests of the authors show in the variety of organization and emphasis found in the papers. John Backus describes the background of the FORTRAN project, some of the design decisions, the documentation and implementation. Alan Perlis emphasizes the many people involved in the ALGOL design, from before 1958, through the Zurich and Paris meetings, culminating in ALGOL 60. Peter Naur concentrates on the design decisions made between the Zurich and Paris meetings. The disagreements which surface in appendices to his paper make for fascinating reading. Kristen Nygaard describes the many changes which the design of SIMULA went through from 1961 through 1971, from SIMULA I to SIMULA 67.

    The book is not a dry history -- many statements seem particularly surprising in hindsight. John Backus says of FORTRAN, "As far as we were aware, we simply made up the language as we went along. We did not regard language design as a difficult problem, merely a simple prelude to the real work of designing a compiler which could produce efficient programs." Jean Sammet stresses with regard to COBOL, "We were going to recommend a short range composite approach good for at least the next year or two."

    The history of the technical decisions is particularly well researched and presented. Many ideas were taken directly from other languages, such as the separation of the data description and executable statements in COBOL, deriving from FLOW-MATIC. Some seemed to occur almost casually, such as Thomas Kurtz commenting on the design of BASIC, "Around 1960 or 1961, after a visit to the PDP-1 time-shared computer at MIT, I can clearly recall John McCarthy saying, 'Why don't you guys do time sharing?' Shortly afterward I said to Kemeny, 'I think we ought to do time sharing.' Kemeny responded, 'OK.' And that was that!" Other decisions stemmed from deadlocks, as Alan Perlis described, when a European member of the ALGOL committee declared "No! I will never use a period for a decimal point." The proposal from Joseph Wegstein for three levels of language calmed the situation. The ALGOL paper and appendices by Peter Naur present different views of the same experience. Even a project consisting of only two people can produce its share of excitement. Kristen Nygaard describes the shock of a switchboard operator at overhearing a violent argument between two men in a hallway. She was reassured that it was just Dahl and Nygaard discussing SIMULA.

    One thing which emerges from many of the papers is the deep involvement which a language design can elicit from its designers. John Backus and Jean Sammet both describe many late, long hours.

    But this book is not just a series of papers by knowledgeable authors. It is itself a history of the History of Programming Languages Conference held in Los Angeles in 1978. Jean Sammet, the General Chairman, describes how the conference was put together. There are many valuable ideas here for potential conference organizers. The Conference Historian, Henry Tropp, provides a historical perspective and suggests archiving of design papers. The keynote address is by Grace Hopper. Its transcript captures the qualities of innovation and humor which make her talks such an experience. The author talks are based on the papers, so there is much redundancy of material. The main value to be gained by the duplication is the opportunity to discover the human side of the authors, which comes out in the more informal relation to the audience. Jean Sammet brings down the house with her lament that students are not given more than a passing exposure to COBOL before they receive their degrees in computer science.

    The question and answer sessions were often as interesting as the talks. The book gives John Backus's answer to the question why the letters I through N were chosen to designate integers. The readability of these sections attest to the effort which Richard Wexelblat put into the editing of this volume. The History of Languages represents a tremendous amount of effort from a great many people, and is a book which programmers as well as language designers will find both instructive and enjoyable.
          in ACM Computing Reviews March 1982 view details
  • Bauer, Friedrich L. "A computer pioneer's talk: pioneering work in software during the 50s in Central Europe" view details Extract: Introduction
    In the late 40s and early 50s, there were a few groups in the USA, in England, in Continental Europe and other countries that started to construct computers. To be precise they constructed the computer hardware. The computing machine in the modern sense had to replace desk calculators which were slow, had limited capabilities and lacked automatic performance of complex tasks.
    In 1936, Alan Turing described the functioning of a computer in a theoretical way with the aim to create a sound basis for a definition of the concept of computable numbers. Turing's computer of 1936 would have been terribly slow if it had been constructed. However, Turing did not construct it at that time. Then Konrad Zuse, John Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly and a few others constructed computer hardware with relays or even with vacuum tubes and they had to master immense difficulties of engineering nature. Their products were often clumsy since the main problem of the hardware designers was to make their machines function in the first place. Furthermore, they had to make compromises with respect to available technologies. Zuse's first outlines around 1934 ("Vom Formular zur Programmsteuerung") showed for example a machine that used non-erasable storage and thus was much closer to functional programming than his later designs. However, he had to give up this approach and came to the solution of using erasable storage with appropriate writing and reading mechanisms.
    Extract: How did software arise?
    Heinz Zemanek has put it this way: "Software started with the translation of algebraic formulas into machine code." Thus, the Plankalkul of Konrad Zuse in 1945, the Formelubersetzung of Heinz Rutishauser and of Corrado Bohm in 1951, the Algebraic interpreter of Alick E. Glennie in 1953, the Programming Program of E. Z. Ljubimskii and Sergej Sergeevich Kamynin in 1954 and of Andrei Ershov in 1955 stood at the beginning of software, soon followed by Remington-Rand's Math-Matic (1955) and IBM's Fortran (1956). All these advances were made before the word 'software' came into wider use in 1960, 1961 or 1962.

    Now I will describe how we started to construct software in Munich and Zurich in the 50s, we being Klaus Samelson (1918-1980), Heinz Schecher (1922-1984) and myself in Munich and Heinz Rutishauser (1919-1970) in Zurich.
    Extract: Early Work in Munich and Zurich
    Early Work in Munich and Zurich
    In Munich, we were part of a group, under the supervision of the engineer Hans Piloty and the mathematician Robert Sauer, that constructed a computer. Our specific task was, to see to it that the computer under construction could perlorm the calculations it was intended for. Our group started in 1952, well-informed about the von Neumann report. Our first challenge  was the  ESDAC book  of Wilkes-Wheeler-Gill, published in 1951. We learned from this book that we had to develop tools to make the programming job easier and more reliable. Only as a first step we decided to consider the subroutine technique advocated by Maurice V. Wilkes. We also were aware of Rutishauser's publication 'Uber automatische Rechenplanfertigung bei programmgesteuerten Rechenanlageri in ZAMM 1951, where the idea to use the computer in order to write its own program was exemplified. For this reason first personal contact to Rutishauser was established in November 1952. Apart from our daily work of fabricating subroutines for Sauer and checking the engineers' design, we started modestly to think about such simple tools as a supervisory program, while Rutishauser wrote a program for his relay computer Z4 performing the automatic generation for his relay of a linear sequence of machine instructions from a loop.
    In accordance with Rutishauser, we were convinced that 'automatic programming' was the direction we had to follow. Rutishauser knew that he could not use the Z4 for the realization of his 1951 ideas. Piloty's PERM in Munich was slightly ahead in time compared to Speiser's ERMETH in Zurich, so we aimed at constructing a practicable tool for 'automatic programming' as soon as our Munich machine was ready; in the meantime we followed closely the development in 'automatic programming' in the USA and in other countries, but we were not satisfied with the idea of constructing a 'compiler' that simply piled up prefabricated subroutines. Under the influence of Wilhelm Britzelmayr, our logic professor in Munich, we became more linguistically-oriented (when FORTRAN appeared in 1956, we were dissatisfied).
    Nevertheless, we now knew that we had to look for a better solution. We had several ideas how to achieve this aim. The PERM machine was ready for tests in 1955 (it was completely usable in 1956), so we could actually proceed.
    Extract: The Kellerprinzip
    The Kellerprinzip
    In 1955, when STANISLAUS was under construction, Samelson and I discussed how we would proceed with translating arithmetical formulas into machine code and suddenly we came to the conclusion that besides the 'Zahlkeller', that was used in Polish notation to postpone the intermediate results, we had to use an 'Op-I'l'alioiiskcllcr' in a similar way for postponing operations when dealing with pa-renlheses or implicit precedence.
    Soon, we found out that the functional principle we had discovered (we called it Kellerprinzip) "postpone operations that you can not yet evaluate and evaluate Iliem as soon as possible" was not only suitable for the evaluation or translation of parenthesized formulas, but for any constructs that show a parenthesized, interlocked structure.'
    Samelson in particular used the Kellerprinzip to make storage allocation efficient and when we designed step by step the programming language that we wauled lo use for 'automatic programming,' we structured the language accordingly. It became known as Chomsky-2-language.
    Rutishauser in particular showed how to use the Kellerprinzip in parameter transfer, bringing the spirit of the Lambda notation of formal logic into programming.
    Our efforts finally led in 1958 to ALGOL and made ALGOL a well-structured, very safe programming language. As usual, when freed from the restrictions hardware implies, more elegant, more flexible, more versatile solutions can be obtained.

          in "History of computing: software issues" Hashagen, Ulf; Keil-Slawik, Reinhard; Norberg, Arthur L. eds Proceedings of the international conference on History of computing: software issues 2002, Paderborn, Germany April 05 - 07, 2000 Springer 2002 view details
  • Bauer, Friedrich L. "From the Stack Principle to Algol" view details Extract: Introduction to Zuse's PLankalkul
    Britzlmayr and Angstl
    The idea of what I later called the stack principle came into my mind before I became seriously acquainted with what was dubbed program-controlled calculators at that time. In the academic year 1948-1949 I was sitting in a class of Wilhelm Britzlmayr's, logician and honorary
    professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat in Munich (his regular occupation was director of a bank). One day he spoke on the syntactic aspects (but this terminology was not used at that time) of the parentheses-free notation that was advocated by Jan Lukasiewicz [1]. Something stirred my interest, and thus I was not completely lost when on June 27, 1949 in Britzlmayr's seminar a man by the name of Kon-rad Zuse, while giving a survey of his Plankalkul [4], used the checking of the well-formedness of a propositional formula written in parentheses-free notation as an example for a Plankalkul program (a Rechenplan, as he called it). The discussion between Zuse and Britzlmayr brought to light that it was an algorithm Zuse had learned from his colleague Hans Lohmeyer, a mathematician working, like Zuse, at Henschel-Flugzeug-Werke in Berlin. The algorithm originated in 1943 from the Berlin logician Karl Schroter [3], based on the 1938 work by the Viennese logician Karl Menger [2]. While Zuse wanted to sell his Plankalkul, Britzlmayr was interested only in the algorithm as such, and most of the discussion took place in two different jargons, which was rather confusing.
    Extract: Influence by Shannon
    I did not like [Angstl's] solution with the wooden apparatus, and influenced by the 1949 paper by Claude Shannon [6], The Synthesis of Two-Terminal Switching Circuits,   I started to look for a relay realization for the formula, which was to be typed in directly. At the same time, this allowed a direct evaluation of the propositional formula for true or false instantiations of the variables; the test for well-formedness turned out to be a byproduct of such a formula-programmed relay calculator for parentheses-free propositional formulas.
    Around the turn of the year 1950/51, during a stay in Davos, Switzerland, I made the wiring diagram for the relay calculator; in honor of the Polish school of logic I dubbed it STANISLAUS Extract: sequential formula translation
    A Software Patent for the Stack The Stack Principle
    In 1955, Samelson and I had quite a different motivation with respect to the STANISLAUS design. In February 1952, I had visited Heinz Rutis-hauser in Zurich and had seen the Z4 working; since the fall of 1953, I had had close contact with him, mainly in questions of numerical mathematics, which was my main duty under Sauer and also the field where I hoped to obtain my habilitation. Naturally, I did not neglect to take notice of Rutishauser's germinative publication [9] [10] of 1951, Uber automatische Rechenplanfertigung bei programmgesteuerten Rechen-maschinen, dealing for the first time with the translation of a mathematical formula language into machine programs by a Superplan in Rutishauser's terminology, a "programming program", as Andrei Ershov called it later. Samelson and I both had in mind to realize this Formel-ubersetzung for the PERM. When in mid-1955 we had time to start it and could expect a speedy finish to the construction of the PERM, it soon came to our attention that STANISLAUS solved a similar, but simplified task. Its "cellar" contained stored intermediate yes-no values; in the case of arithmetic formulas this would be a "number cellar".
    The translation algorithm turns out to be superior to Rutishauser's method [9] inasmuch as it avoids the Rutishauser Springprozession; the effort is only proportional to the length of the formula and not, as with Rutishauser, to the square of the length. In Rutishauser's terminology it amounts to the decomposition of the parenthesis mountain from the first pair of peaks in the first chain of peaks, so it was sequential. Correspondingly, in the publication the method was characterized as "sequential formula translation".
    Extract: Recursion and the cellar principle
    Hardware Stacks
    We gave a report on our results to Sauer and Piloty. Piloty remarked that the German Research Council (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) had a tendency to make sure that patents were obtained for the projects it supported; he urged us to examine whether this would be possible in our case. We agreed, and he offered the prospect of providing the successor machine of the PERM with a number cellar and operation cellar in hardware. This must have been in the summer or fall of 1955. For the patent application we had to disguise our method as hardware, and for this purpose had to become engineers. The elaboration of the patent application therefore brought a lot of work and was fun, too; on the other hand it meant that publication of our results was paralyzed. Samelson therefore reported at the Dresden meeting at the end of November 1955 [13] with great caution. Both Rutishauser and Heinz Billing in Gottingen, who was building the G3 computer, were in on the secret The German patent application [14, in the following partly reprinted] was finally filed March 30, 1957 (Auslegeschrift 109472019, Kl.42m), the U.S.-American one [15] March 28, 1958 within the priority time limit.
    A Software Patent for the Stack
    While the U.S.-American application contained an abundance of and and or gates, the German patent law allowed quite functional descriptions of methods, thus the German application stayed free of drawings for electrical circuits; it was possible to design from it immediately a program with programmed cellar structures, later called stacks. Our patent can therefore be considered as an early case of a software patent
    The actual writing of a machine program for the PERM, which in the meantime was operating, was delegated in mid-1957 to the assistants Manfred Paul and Peter Graeff; the program was ready for tests after a few months. At first, an interpreting machine program was written; then the transition to a generating translator (a compiler) meant simply, instead of immediately executing say (as above)
    inserting into the program the corresponding instruction
    The hardware stacks, the building of which Piloty had suggested, were not realized in Munich, since the PERM II project was not supported by the German Research Council. Billing, however, equipped his G3 computer with the hardware for a number stack.
    thus particularly well suited for efficient translation, which was a main concern of the impoverished European side.

    In Zurich, Samelson had particularly stressed the point that the block structure of storage allocation (Cellar Principle of State Transition and Storage Allocation, [30]), following so naturally from the cellar principle and becoming so typical in the later development, became the dominant organization principle of the programming language. Storage allocation with complete parentheses structure should be organized in a dynamic stack, which without further complications allowed mastery of recursive definitions. The compromise that was achieved in a struggle with the U.S.-American side did not reflect this issue in the published report; thus, later the implementation of recursive situations was reinvented by some people not present at the Zurich meeting.
    Extract: arrival of Algol
    The Preliminary ALGOL Report
    The goals attempted by the ZMD group, to create a language widely following mathematical notation, readable without much ado, and suitable for publications and for mechanical translation, had been largely reached. The publication was completed in 1959 in the first issue of the new journal Numerische Mathematik of Springer-Verlag under the title Report on the Algorithmic Language ALGOL
    Extract: Mainz 22 and algol 58
    When in 1958 I moved from Munich to Mainz, with Samelson soon following me, the ZMD group was widened to the ZMMD group. Emphasis was on finishing compilers for ALGOL 58. The common basis was the method of a stack automaton developed in Munich, which was extended without any difficulty to a full algorithmic language including statements, declarations, block structure, indexed variables, and so on. It was published in 1959 in the newly founded journal Elektronische Rechenanlagen [..] and in 1960 in Communications of the ACM [...]. Manfred Paul, who had done most of the preparatory work, finished a compiler for the Mainz Z22 towards the end of 1958. Soon afterwards, H.R.Schwarz and P.Lauchli followed in Zurich for the ERMETH and G.SeegmuIler in Munich for the PERM.
    Extract: ICIP, BNF, stack notation
    ICIP Conference
    A lot of work was caused by the preparations for ALGOL 60. At the International Conference on Information Processing (ICIP), arranged in Paris, |une 15-20, 1959 by UNESCO, John Backus [24] made a famous proposal for the formal description of the syntax. The Backus notation (Backus Normal Form), soon generally accepted, allowed one to attach in an elegant way the semantics of the programming language to the syntax of a context-free language. Manfred Paul, in his 1962 dissertation, clarified how from this description the transition matrix for the stack automaton could be derived formally.
    Extract: British hostility and absence, ZMD excellence
    The Zurich Meeting
    In the summer of 1957, Bottenbruch became initiated in the Munich Sequential Formula Translator method [16], and at the Zurich meeting the ZMD group not only presented a draft [17] for the language, which at first was called International Algebraic Language, but also had a completed compiler design in the bag. Some U.S.-American delegates had experience with working compilers (Backus with FORTRAN, Perlis with IT, Katz with MATH-MATIC). An open discussion of the technical problems of programming language translation into machine code was left out, as there would not have been enough time. Technically speaking, the state of the art within the ZMD group was far more advanced: FORTRAN used the method of parentheses completion, introduced by P.B.Sheridan [18] and discussed as early as 1952 by Corrado Boehm [11] in his Zurich dissertation, a method that like Rutishauser's required an effort proportional to n2; IT [12] used pure comparison of neighboring operators, enforcing an oppressive limitation to operator precedence grammars. This situation led from time to time to a paralysis of the discussion, which was basically oriented towards progress. On the whole, ALGOL, as it was called in the publication [19b], was an incarnation of the cellar principle […]
    Christopher Strachey, who—inadvertently—had not been invited to the Zurich meeting, went into the trouble of criticizing ALGOL 58 and produced not only considerable stir, but also a lot of public attention. Thus, it was not too difficult to convince the International Federation for Information Processing, founded in Paris, to organize a conference for the "final ALGOL", later called ALGOL 60. The preparations were this time much more intensive; a European pre-conference was held in November 1959 in Paris; it nominated seven European delegates, who met again in December 1959 in Mainz. The U.S.-American side nominated its delegates in November 1959. This time, representatives from Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Denmark, besides representatives from the U.S.A., Germany, and Switzerland, were invited. Extract: Paris Conference
    Paris, 1960
    The ALGOL conference took place in Paris, January 11-16, 1960 under the patronage of the newly founded IFIP. It led to consolidations and completions of the Preliminary Report. Characteristically, the introduction to the report [25a, b] says "The present report represents the union of the committee's concepts and the intersection of its agreements". In this way, contradictions could remain here and there and solutions were omitted. What made me particularly angry was that Samelson, who in 1958 regarding the question of the block structure could not win against Alan Perlis, in 1960, when acceptance of recursion was no longer an issue, was given no credit for the block structure; the editor Peter Naur, who was not present in Zurich, was not aware of this.
    In the short period of six days we also did not succeed in formalizing, next to the syntax which now was formalized in BNF (Backus Normal Form), the semantics as well; it was still explained rather verbally, leading later to exegetic quarrels. Heinz Zemanek tried, with the IFIP Technical Committee 2 Working Conference Formal Language Description Language, held in 1964 in Baden near Vienna, to compensate for this lack. Peter Landin [29] gave a complete formal description of ALGOL 60, but it lacked the blessing of the authorities.
    Extract: The ALCOR Group
    The ALCOR Group
    After the ICIP Congress, June 1959 in Paris and particularly after the publication of the ALGOL 60 report, the ZMMD group decided to widen its membership and invited interested institutions in Europe and North
    America to participate in the efforts for propagation of ALGOL through the construction of ALGOL compilers for various different machine configurations; the documents of the previous ZMMD group were made available for this purpose. The offer was accepted by scientific institutions (among the first were Regnecentralen Copenhagen, Bonn University, Zemanek's Mailiifterl group in Vienna, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Neber Laboratory Leidschendam) as well as by some computer companies (Siemens and Halske AG for the 2002, Telefunken for the TR4, Standard Elektrik Lorenz AG, IBM Germany). The resulting multitude of concrete implementations was unavoidable because of the differences in the machines involved, but it was useful in its scientific aspects. For example, Albert A. Grau, Oak Ridge, introduced the concept of syntactic states and described the compiler as a system of mutually recursive subprograms [31]. Peter Lucas in Vienna went his own way [32] in generating, like Paul in Mainz [33,34], the compiler from the syntax in BNF. Jurgen Eickel and Manfred Paul, in 1964, studied the parsing and ambiguity problem for Chomsky languages in general [39].
    Extract: Algol 58 and the death of Algol
    After my return to Munich in 1963, the build-up of computer science there became my main obligation, leaving less time to be spent on the further development of ALGOL. The way it went became more and more of a nightmare, leading to ALGOL 68 and to the ruin of the ALGOL idea. One after another, people left the IFIP Working Group 2.1 on ALGOL: Peter Naur, Niklaus Wirth, Tony Hoare, Edsger Dijkstra, Brian Randall, Gerhard Seegmiiller, Wlad Turski, Mike Woodger, Hans Bekic, and Fraser Duncan.
          in Software Pioneers: Contributions to Software Engineering, Bonn, 28-29. 6. 2001 eds Broy, Manfred and Denert, Ernst Springer 2002 view details
  • Library of Congress Subject Headings A24 view details
          in Software Pioneers: Contributions to Software Engineering, Bonn, 28-29. 6. 2001 eds Broy, Manfred and Denert, Ernst Springer 2002 view details
    • Algol