Simple code(ID:4982/sim037)

Floating point autocode 

Floating point autocode for the STC Zebra and Stantec

from Keith Smillie's page
"I have several documents covering Simple Code (a semi-interpreted floating-point autocode which I was given to understand had been modelled on EDSAC Autocode, though I can't find any examples of the latter to verify that), "

Related languages
EDSAC Autocode => Simple code   Based on
Simple code => Normal code   Co-development

  • Bemer, R. W. "The Status of Automatic Programming for Scientific Problems" view details Abstract: A catalogue of automatic coding systems that are either operational or in the process of development together with brief descriptions of some of the more important ones Extract: Summary
    Let me elaborate these points with examples. UNICODE is expected to require about fifteen man-years. Most modern assembly systems must take from six to ten man-years. SCAT expects to absorb twelve people for most of a year. The initial writing of the 704 FORTRAN required about twenty-five man-years. Split among many different machines, IBM's Applied Programming Department has over a hundred and twenty programmers. Sperry Rand probably has more than this, and for utility and automatic coding systems only! Add to these the number of customer programmers also engaged in writing similar systems, and you will see that the total is overwhelming.
    Perhaps five to six man-years are being expended to write the Alodel 2 FORTRAN for the 704, trimming bugs and getting better documentation for incorporation into the even larger supervisory systems of various installations. If available, more could undoubtedly be expended to bring the original system up to the limit of what we can now conceive. Maintenance is a very sizable portion of the entire effort going into a system.
    Certainly, all of us have a few skeletons in the closet when it comes to adapting old systems to new machines. Hardly anything more than the flow charts is reusable in writing 709 FORTRAN; changes in the characteristics of instructions, and tricky coding, have done for the rest. This is true of every effort I am familiar with, not just IBM's.
    What am I leading up to? Simply that the day of diverse development of automatic coding systems is either out or, if not, should be. The list of systems collected here illustrates a vast amount of duplication and incomplete conception. A computer manufacturer should produce both the product and the means to use the product, but this should be done with the full co-operation of responsible users. There is a gratifying trend toward such unification in such organizations as SHARE, USE, GUIDE, DUO, etc. The PACT group was a shining example in its day. Many other coding systems, such as FLAIR, PRINT, FORTRAN, and USE, have been done as the result of partial co-operation. FORTRAN for the 705 seems to me to be an ideally balanced project, the burden being carried equally by IBM and its customers.
    Finally, let me make a recommendation to all computer installations. There seems to be a reasonably sharp distinction between people who program and use computers as a tool and those who are programmers and live to make things easy for the other people. If you have the latter at your installation, do not waste them on production and do not waste them on a private effort in automatic coding in a day when that type of project is so complex. Offer them in a cooperative venture with your manufacturer (they still remain your employees) and give him the benefit of the practical experience in your problems. You will get your investment back many times over in ease of programming and the guarantee that your problems have been considered.
    The IT language is also showing up in future plans for many different computers. Case Institute, having just completed an intermediate symbolic assembly to accept IT output, is starting to write an IT processor for UNIVAC. This is expected to be working by late summer of 1958. One of the original programmers at Carnegie Tech spent the last summer at Ramo-Wooldridge to write IT for the 1103A. This project is complete except for input-output and may be expected to be operational by December, 1957. IT is also being done for the IBM 705-1, 2 by Standard Oil of Ohio, with no expected completion date known yet. It is interesting to note that Sohio is also participating in the 705 FORTRAN effort and will undoubtedly serve as the basic source of FORTRAN-to- IT-to-FORTRAN translational information. A graduate student at the University of Michigan is producing SAP output for IT (rather than SOAP) so that IT will run on the 704; this, however, is only for experience; it would be much more profitable to write a pre-processor from IT to FORTRAN (the reverse of FOR TRANSIT) and utilize the power of FORTRAN for free. Extract: Simple Code as first microcoding system
    Many foreign developments are worthy of mention [...] Dr. W. L. van der Poel of Holland has developed some excellent methods for the ZEBRA computer, his own design, which take advantage of the micro-programming features to build up complicated algebraic routines.
          in "Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Computer Applications Symposium" , Armour Research Foundation, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois 1957 view details
  • Ord-Smith, R. J. "The Stantec-Zebra Simple Code and its Interpretation" pp146 view details
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming "(1) 1960 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • van der Poel, W. L. "The Simple Code for Zebra" P.T.T.-Bedrijf Deel, ix, No. 2 August 1959 view details
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming "(1) 1960 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • Stantec Zebra Simple Code Programming Manual 1960 view details
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming "(1) 1960 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • BCS Bulletin - Literature and References to Simplified Programming Schemes for Computers, Available or Projected - November 1961 view details
          in Goodman, Richard (ed) "Annual Review in Automatic Programming "(1) 1960 Pergamon Press, Oxford view details
  • Blum, E. K. review of Goodman 1960 view details Abstract: This volume contains the 18 papers presented to the Conference on Automatic Programming of Digital Computers held in April 1959 at Brighton Technical College. The papers are, for the most part, brief descriptions of various automatic programming systems in use in Great Britain at the time of the conference. The following sample of titles gleaned from the table of contents will convey some idea of the scope and content of the papers: "The MARK 5 System of Automatic Coding for TREAC"; "PEGASUS: An Example of an Autocoded Program for Sales Analysis and Forecasting"; "The Application of Formula Translation to Automatic Coding of Ordinary Differential Equations"; "Further DEUCE Interpretive Programs and some Translating Programs"; and "Automatic Programming and Business Applications."

    Most of the papers are written in a style and manner which seem to have become universally accepted for papers on computer programming, at least in the English-speaking world and probably in others. This style insists on a liberal dosage of impressively detailed flow charts which, considering the well-known and understandable reluctance of programmers to read their own programs much less those of others, one suspects most readers hastily skip over, willingly granting their authenticity. The flow charts are invariably accompanied by long lists of special instructions described in the private patois of the author, who seems blissfully unaware or unconcerned that his specially constructed vocabulary of acronyms may present;. rough going to the reader from the inlying provinces. Finally, the style demands long and wearisome descriptions of basic concepts (e.g., subroutine; symbolic instruction, etc.) long since familiar to the average reader, some indication of difficulties as yet to be surmounted (e.g., automatic storage allocation; easier debugging; et al). Nevertheless, the volume does give some idea of the status of automatic programming systems in Great Britain in early 1959. It also contains a concise description of the 709 SHARE operating system, and another brief account of FLOW-MATIC and MATH-MATIC. There are two interesting appendices worthy of mention. Appendix One consists of reprints of two papers by the late A. M. Turing, "On Computable Numbers with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem", in which the "Turing machine" was conceived, and a brief corrective note on the same subject. Appendix Two contains the "Preliminary Report of ~ ACM-GAMM Committee on an International Algebraic Language", since published elsewhere.

    The reviewer cannot suppress the question of whether this sort of material (Appendices excepted), so soon obsolescent or obsolete and so difficult to present adequately in short papers, deserves the effort and expense required to reproduce it between the bound hard covers of a handsome book.

          in ACM Computing Reviews 2(03) May-June 1961 view details
  • Zebra Program Library "Statistical Programs" view details
          in ACM Computing Reviews 2(03) May-June 1961 view details
  • Gearing, H. W. "Autocodes for mathematical and statistical work" An address given at the inaugural meeting of the Edinburgh Branch on 13 December 1961 view details Extract: Zebra Simple Code
    The Zebra computer has a machine code which seems to be oriented to the internal functions of the machine as seen by the engineer: it is, therefore, a difficult machine to program in normal code. The normal code is, however, very flexible and skilled programmers experienced with this machine can attain high speeds. The teleprinter uses CCIT punched-tape code.
    In the Simple Code the arithmetic functions are replaced by alphabetical characters. One is encouraged to look at the machine as a series of registers and scaling is covered automatically by arithmetic in floating point. Over thirty subroutines can be called up automatically, for example Z10 will cause the contents of the accumulator to be replaced by the logarithm (base 10) of the number previously in the accumulator.
    Extract: Introduction
    Electronic computers are able to work at high speeds only because they are programmed. Analysis of a problem, or a data processing procedure, and the programming of it for a computer in machine code, is a laborious task. In the early machines, users soon appreciated the advantage of having standard programs for assembly and program development, and a library of routines for regular calculations, complex number input and output, and for tracing the course of programs during program development, particularly when unexpected results were given when the program was tried on the machine.
    Where jobs are to be done regularly, it is still most economical, in the long run, to program them in machine language using such library routines as may be available. But for jobs which have to be done only once, or where it is desirable to try-out part of the job first and then extend the application of the computer, simplified programming systems have been developed. By their means, the computer can be addressed in a form of English, or by direct use of mathematical symbols if these are available in the character set of the teleprinter-punch used for punching the program. These simplified programming systems to which I shall apply the term "Autocodes" (originally named by Brooker at Manchester), together with available libraries of programs, constitute a very significant extension of the machinery which is now available.
    Besides saving the time spent on programming, these systems reduce the clerical errors of program writing by eliminating many tedious steps and this also reduces the time taken by program development. They also make it easier for the writer (or another person) to amend the program at a later date. In the earlier systems, the simplification entailed a varying loss of operating speed, varying between two and fifteen times as long to do a job on the machine. But a half hour of computer time after a few hours' programming in autocode is a more economic proposition for a one-off job, or trial of a routine job, than several weeks on programming, followed, after several trials, by a successful five-minute run on the computer.
    The newer programming systems, which involve a preliminary operation to compile a machine code program, will suffer less loss of speed and will become the normal method of programming computers for calculations and dataprocessing work, where the operations are not sufficiently standard to justify the writing of specific or general programs in machine language.
    Extract: Work at Rothamsted
    Work at Rothamsted
    In his valedictory Presidential address to The British Computer Society in London on 26 September 1961, Dr. Frank Yates reviewed the contribution which computers have made and are making in research statistics. It is on the solution of problems involving heavy numerical computation, in pure research, and in engineering design that, in his view, computers have achieved their most striking successes:
    Dr. Yates went on to point out that even in fields where computational tasks had previously been performed on desk calculators, computers could introduce three new features:
    (a) Speed, e.g. where further progress depends on knowing results to date.
    (b) A more thorough job, with better editing of data and more accurate calculations.
    (c) Relegation of computational methodology to the machine, so that people requiring to do calculations do not have to know the detail of the calculations involved.
    His paper (Yates, 1962), published in the January issue of The Computer Journal, reviews experience at Rothamsted and the development there of general programs for statistical work and some autocodes at other centres.
    If a general purpose program is available to include a mathematical procedure or the statistical method which one needs for a piece of analysis, then more people can use the computer. 1 have prepared a schedule of some of the schemes that are now available, or may be expected to be available early in 1962. Those who have access to a computer may find this of interest to follow up whichever line of development is applicable. Extract: Applications in Metal Box Company
    Applications in Metal Box Company
    In a paper published in The Computer Journal for April 1961 (Gearing 1961) 1 referred to the use which we, in The Metal Box Company Limited, had made of Pegasus autocode.
    I reviewed, in some detail, two programs. One of these was an analysis of a market survey for household trays in which interviews were conducted with some 1,100 households, covering 17 general questions and 10 observations of each tray found at the house: these questionnaires were analysed and 17 tables for the internal report were printed direct from the computer output tape. The other program related to part of our work on experimental sales forecasting and is now available in the Pegasus/Sirius interchange scheme (Ferranti, 1960).
    Our first computer application to quality control was in 1958-59 when we undertook an analysis of variance in connection with a productive operation being camed out by a group of machines in the chain between the sheet of tinplate and the finished open top can. Three factors were involved.
    The autocode program for Pegasus was thought to be rather slow and a full machine code program was written by Mr. D. Bulcock and is now available in the Pegasus interchange scheme. There are other analyses of variance programs available, notably one by BISRA (Caner and Taylor, 1960) which caters for up to seven factors, but if there are more than seven levels and only three factors involved, our program permits all the levels of data to be used.
    Nowadays, we would not attempt to write a full machine code program unless the job was going to be frequently done and would require considerable machine time. In the group of machines which we are using, a compiler-program has become available which automatically translates the Pegasus autocode program into Sirius machine orders (Ferranti, 1959 and 1961).
    In 1960 we were asked to assist in the analysis of data on the variability of some raw material which had been collected from sampled consignments over two years. Several different characteristics of the material had been measured. An autocode program was wntten to analyse each characteristic separately, prmting sample means, ranges, standard dev~ations, and compiling frequency distributions of means and standard deviations. A hierarchic analysis of variance was also given at the end of each characteristic. We were asked to undertake this work on 29 March and the calculations were substantially completed on 12 Aprll. Further calculations and a correlation between two characteristics were made on 3 June and 5 October 1960.
    Here I would like to stress that although the program was written in autocode, which is normally advocated for one-off jobs, the program is a general one. The progress of the calculations is controlled by ten parameters and the print routine by seven more. Thus one program served for the analysis of all the different characteristics, including some that involved preliminary arithmetic on pairs of observations.
    The correlation program was written separately but took only two hours to write, using pairs of exlsting data tapes fed in on the two tape readers simultaneously. Extract: Scientific Autocodes
    Scientific Autocodes
    The list appended covers a wide range of programs. compilers,
    autocodes. Among the autocodes which can be taught in a few days and which are already fully operational are :
    Mercury autocode.
    Pegasus/Sirius autocode.
    Ferranti Matrix Interpretive Scheme.
    Deuce Alphacode.
    IBM Fortran.
    Edsac 2 Autocode.
    Stantec Zebra Simple Code.
    Elliott 803 autocode.
    Elliott and other systems based on ALGOL
    Extract: Stantec Zebra Simple Code
    Stantec Zebra Simple Code Programming Manual (1960).
    The Zebra computer has a machine code which seems to be oriented to the internal functions of the machine as seen by the engineer: it is, therefore, a difficult machine to program in normal code. The normal code is, however, very flexible and skilled programmers experienced with this machine can attain high speeds. The teleprinter uses CCIT punched-tape code.
    In the Simple Code the arithmetic functions are replaced by alphabetical characters. One is encouraged to look at the machine as a series of registers and scaling is covered automatically by arithmetic in floating point. Over thirty subroutines can be called up automatically, for example Z10 will cause the contents of the accumulator to be replaced by the logarithm (base 10) of the number previously in the accumulator. Extract: Commercial Autocodes
    Commercial Autocodes
    Those concerned with Commercial Data Processing should have a look at:
    ICT Rapidwrite-Cobol.
    Ferranti Nebula.
    Cleo & Gypsy when available.
    These may take a couple of weeks to study, because, speaking from experience with Nebula, there are not only procedure descriptions but also file outlines and specifications of format of data and results when dealing with computers having considerable ancillary equipment. The Scientific Autocodes are usually concerned with one medium of inputloutput only, punched tape or punched-cards.
    Programming a data processing operation in a Commercial Autocode like Nebula becomes a full-time job; but it is easier to train staff in Nebula than a machine code and the autocode compiler will (we hope) take care of housekeeping routines when opening and closing files. We are using young men and women of O level mathematics, who have had experience of controlling our punched card routines, for this work.
          in The Computer Bulletin March 1962 view details
  • Stock, Karl F. "A listing of some programming languages and their users" in RZ-Informationen. Graz: Rechenzentrum Graz 1971 221 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 The Computer Bulletin March 1962 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 543 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 The Computer Bulletin March 1962 view details
  • Richardson, Maurice "What Might Have Been" in Resurrection Vol 17 view details Abstract: The "story of missed opportunity" is the author's description of the Zebra computer. He explains why he thinks it was one of the best designs of its time, and describes some of the problems encountered when it was first put to use for commercial data processing. Extract: Mention en passant
    What advantages and disadvantages did Zebra have as a commercial computer? The store of 8K 33-bit words was large for its day, and the 312 microsecond instruction time was quite good. Its programming was very close in concept to modern microprogramming, which made programming rather difficult in Normal Code (NC - Zebra's Assembler). Simple Code (an autocode with floating point facilities) was available for one-off jobs, but at Hornsey we had to use NC to make the programs efficient.

    In a far-sighted move ahead of its time, Alex d'Agapayeff developed the first attempt at a high-level commercial language for Zebra called SEAL (Standard Electronic Accounting Language).

          in The Computer Bulletin March 1962 view details