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Institutionalization of FORTRAN: The Emergence of FORTRAN IV from FORTRAN II

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129435D
Original Publication Date: 1984-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 2 page(s) / 18K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

WILLIAM P. HEISING: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

My subject is slightly broader than the emergence of 704 FORTRAN II to 7094 FORTRAN IV. I'm going to talk about the evolution of 704 FORTRAN during the period from 1957 to 1964 from my personal viewpoint. During this period I had various responsibilities in connection with FORTRAN.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1984 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Institutionalization of FORTRAN: The Emergence of FORTRAN IV from FORTRAN II

WILLIAM P. HEISING

(Image Omitted: Author's Address: W. P. Heising, IBM Corporation, Neighborhood Road, Kingston, NY 12401.)

My subject is slightly broader than the emergence of 704 FORTRAN II to 7094 FORTRAN IV. I'm going to talk about the evolution of 704 FORTRAN during the period from 1957 to 1964 from my personal viewpoint. During this period I had various responsibilities in connection with FORTRAN.

My first responsibility was to assist on the transfer of the FORTRAN project from the Programming Research Group under John Backus to the Applied Programming Department. Later I was manager of 7094 programming, and still later I was responsible for coordinating FORTRAN processor implementations within IBM. In 1957 the status of FORTRAN was that the initial compilers were completed by the Programming Research Group, which had embarked on a significant improvement called FORTRAN IT that has enabled users to break up the program - - a large application -- into independent compilations. This was an important advance to which attention should be called. In fact, it was the genesis of many of the linking loaders we have today. The idea of having an application program written not as the output of a single compilation but of many was new. It greatly expanded the possible use of FORTRAN because it meant that if some small part of the application required assembly-language programming, it could be done without writing a separate routine or function in the FORTRAN language.

When I became involved with the Applied Programming Department, there were approximately 10 people to take over the work of Backus's Programming Research Group. Most of these people were capable but junior in experience in programming. Our first responsibility was to learn the structure of the compiler. Backus's group had an informal management style, and there were some things that bothered us a little. For example, the different sections were written in two different assembly languages -- certain sections in one and certain in the other. When we finally got Section 2, the Programming Research Group had lost the symbolic code so it came over to us in absolute.

The most important initial project undertaken in Applied Programming was to get a version ready for the IBM 709, which had been announced in January 1957 and was first shipped late in 1958. Because the group was new, a minimum number of changes were made in order to make FORTRAN operative on the 709. This machine had different input/output, and the configuration we chose to support was 8K main memory (instead of 4K) with a drum. The 8K main storage meant we had to be a little bit careful in shoehorning everything into storage.

The original plan for the 709 programming...