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Programming in Grenoble in the 1960s and those who Flew from the Nest

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129652D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 9 page(s) / 38K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

JEAN PIERRE VERJUS: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This article summarizes the development of the Grenoble Institute of Informatics and Applied Mathematics (IMAG), created by Professor Jean Kuntzmann. Then it focuses on the Programming Team, headed by Professor Louis Bolliet. Since the 1960s, many Grenoble educated computer scientists and engineers have spread towards other university towns/campuses (the example of IRISA in Rennes is discussed) and to industry, thus contributing greatly to the diffusion of computer activities in France. After this historical outline, the author proposes some retrospective reflections on research and development in Programming Language Systems.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1990 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Programming in Grenoble in the 1960s and those who Flew from the Nest

JEAN PIERRE VERJUS

(Image Omitted: Author's address: Jean Pierre Verjus, Directeur Institut IMAG, 46 Avenue Felix Viallet, 38031 Grenoble Cedex, France.)

This article summarizes the development of the Grenoble Institute of Informatics and Applied Mathematics (IMAG), created by Professor Jean Kuntzmann. Then it focuses on the Programming Team, headed by Professor Louis Bolliet. Since the 1960s, many Grenoble educated computer scientists and engineers have spread towards other university towns/campuses (the example of IRISA in Rennes is discussed) and to industry, thus contributing greatly to the diffusion of computer activities in France. After this historical outline, the author proposes some retrospective reflections on research and development in Programming Language Systems.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.2 [Computing Milieux]: History of Computing -- people, systems. K.3.2 [Computing Milieux]: Computers and Education -- computer and information science education.

General Terms: France, University, Programming language, IMAG. Additional Terms: Grenoble, IRISA, Algol, Computers, Education.

Programming in Grenoble from 1955 to 1975

The First Steps 1956-1960

The University of Grenoble's Computer Laboratory was created in 1951 as a testing laboratory for the Institut Polytechnique (IPG). But it was only in 1956 that programming began to be taught in Grenoble, on Jean Kuntzmann's initiative. The aim of the course, given by an engineering company, Normacem in Lyon, was to teach students to program on the first Bull electronic computer -- a card-programmed Gamma 3. These machines did not yet have central and backing memories. The program was coded on a panel of hookups with external storage in the form of a deck of cards. Yet one could already use branching and subprogram concepts. There were four users, two of them being Louis Bolliet and J. Kuntzmann.

The following year, the Neyrpic-Sogreah company acquired an IBM 650 computer; the same group, and a few other users, took a training course at Neyrpic, where they could use the machine on Saturdays to develop their programs. Kuntzmann obtained an equipment grant that year, with which the computing laboratory acquired a computer. They chose a Bull Gamma ET, which had a fast 64-word memory of 48 binary positions, with an 8192-word backing storage on a magnetic drum. This computer was installed in 1958. In July of the same year, the first graduating class from the IPG Special Section, called Grenoble Engineers in Applied Mathematics (IMAG), received their diplomas.

IEEE Computer Society, Mar 31, 1990 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 12 Number 2, Pages 95-102

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Programming in Grenoble in the 1960s and those who Fl...