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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 16 Number 4 -- About this Issue

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129826D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 2 page(s) / 16K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

IEEE Computer Society: OWNER

Abstract

The Second History of Programming Languages Conference (HOPI-II, held in Boston in April 1992) provided the impetus for the Annals Editorial Board to seek out a guest editor to put together a special issue on programming languages. Tim Bergin very kindly volunteered to find the authors and do the organization necessary to put together the topical articles in this issue. While this issue was in its final stages of preparation, and because of the strong interest in the Annals evidenced by its increase in subscriptions, the IEEE Publications Board agreed that we could increase the number of pages we publish each year. This meant that, rather than our usual task of telling authors to ";cut your article down a bit,"; we were actually able to add extra material. While it was too late to seek further material on programming languages, we were fortunate to have a fine article on the history of National Science Foundation efforts in providing computing facilities to the American scientific community. Thus, rather than this simply being a Special Issue on Programming Languages, this is actually a ";Special"; Special Issue which combines two topics that, perhaps only after the development of the computer hardware itself, have had the greatest impact on the way in which computing is actually accomplished. While most of us realize that programming languages are at the heart of the computing industry, it is not always apparent to younger folk that without the early support of the NSF they would certainly not have access to the networks of powerful computers, the languages, and the systems which play so vital a role in their working lives today. The Programming Languages part of this issue actually forms a very compact survey of the topic, from Brian Randell's article on the origins of the entire concept of a control program, to a survey of data-flow languages and computers -- something which gets us entirely away from the standard von Neumann architecture with which we are all so familiar. In between these two extremes, Tim Bergin has managed to find two articles that effectively bridge this gap and symbolize the mainstream of programming. As a very early user of SIMULA, I was fascinated by the story that Jan Rune Holmevik relates about its beginnings. It also, unfortunately, brought back some memories of those days that I would rather forget. Perhaps the worst was when, due to my own carelessness in devising an examination question involving SIMULA, I was forced to give a student a grade of 100 percent for turning in a completely blank answer paper. (He was the only one in a large class to actually spot the error and realize that the program, while syntactically correct, was logically flawed.)

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This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1994 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

About this Issue

The Second History of Programming Languages Conference (HOPI-II, held in Boston in April 1992) provided the impetus for the Annals Editorial Board to seek out a guest editor to put together a special issue on programming languages. Tim Bergin very kindly volunteered to find the authors and do the organization necessary to put together the topical articles in this issue. While this issue was in its final stages of preparation, and because of the strong interest in the Annals evidenced by its increase in subscriptions, the IEEE Publications Board agreed that we could increase the number of pages we publish each year. This meant that, rather than our usual task of telling authors to "cut your article down a bit," we were actually able to add extra material. While it was too late to seek further material on programming languages, we were fortunate to have a fine article on the history of National Science Foundation efforts in providing computing facilities to the American scientific community. Thus, rather than this simply being a Special Issue on Programming Languages, this is actually a "Special" Special Issue which combines two topics that, perhaps only after the development of the computer hardware itself, have had the greatest impact on the way in which computing is actually accomplished. While most of us realize that programming languages are at the heart of the computing industry, it is not always apparent to younger folk that without the early support of the NSF they would certainly not have access to the networks of powerful computers, the languages, and the systems which play so vital a role in their working lives today.

The Programming Languages part of this issue actually forms a very compact survey of the topic, from Brian Randell's article on the origins of the entire concept of a control program, to a survey of data-flow languages and computers -- something which gets us entirely away from the standard von Neumann architecture with which we are all so familiar. In between these two extremes, Tim Bergin has managed to find two articles that effectively bridge this gap and symbolize the mainstream of programming.

As a very early user of SIMULA, I was fascinated by the story that Jan Rune Holmevik relates about its beginnings. It also, unfortunately, brought back some memories of those days that I would rather forget. Perhaps the worst was when, due to my own carelessness in devising an examination question involving SIMULA, I was forced to give a student a grade of 100 percent for turnin...