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PLZ: A Family of System Programming Languages for Microprocessors

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131283D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 8 page(s) / 32K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Charlie Bass: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

There is an art to the practice of any science, a point argued cogently by Donald E. Knuth,' author of the series of volumes deliberately titled The Art of Computer Programming. If ";science"; is knowledge which has been logically arranged and systematically codified, then ";art"; refers to the use of personal skill, guided by a sense of aesthetics, in applying these organized principles, whether they describe engineering, physics, mathematics, or computer programming. For, at a given stage in the translation of an art into the organized body of the corresponding science, that which is still art contains intuitive and aesthetic factors which defy precise formalization. Computer programming -- with its scope extending from ";arty"; folklore to science-based automatic code generation and verification -- is a prime example of these subtle differences. Now widely called computer science, the art of programming continues to challenge and often baffle the most scientific of managers and ";computer scientists."; Programming languages are the tools with which computer scientists practice their particular blending of art and science. As every artisan and craftsman knows, having the right tools affects both the work and the results. The abundance of programming languages is an indication, in part, of the desire to provide the right tool for a myriad of programming situations. The PLZ family of languages is intended to meet the needs of a relatively new experience -- microcomputer system programming. At the core of each language is a common kernel which is expanded to make each separate language. The several languages of the family can each be applied to the tasks for which it is best suited and then later linked together into a single program.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 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.

PLZ: A Family of System Programming Languages for Microprocessors

Charlie Bass

Zilog, Incorporated

There is an art to the practice of any science, a point argued cogently by Donald E. Knuth,' author of the series of volumes deliberately titled The Art of Computer Programming. If "science" is knowledge which has been logically arranged and systematically codified, then "art" refers to the use of personal skill, guided by a sense of aesthetics, in applying these organized principles, whether they describe engineering, physics, mathematics, or computer programming. For, at a given stage in the translation of an art into the organized body of the corresponding science, that which is still art contains intuitive and aesthetic factors which defy precise formalization. Computer programming -- with its scope extending from "arty" folklore to science- based automatic code generation and verification -- is a prime example of these subtle differences. Now widely called computer science, the art of programming continues to challenge and often baffle the most scientific of managers and "computer scientists."

Programming languages are the tools with which computer scientists practice their particular blending of art and science. As every artisan and craftsman knows, having the right tools affects both the work and the results. The abundance of programming languages is an indication, in part, of the desire to provide the right tool for a myriad of programming situations.

The PLZ family of languages is intended to meet the needs of a relatively new experience -- microcomputer system programming. At the core of each language is a common kernel which is expanded to make each separate language. The several languages of the family can each be applied to the tasks for which it is best suited and then later linked together into a single program.

In this article, after a perspective view of the setting for new language development, the key objectives which governed the development of PLZ are examined. Then the principal features of the new system-programming-language family are described. Two individual languages have been designed and are in use. Others are under consideration.

Perspective

The advent of microprocessor technology has extended the challenge of controlling software development into a wider domain and has introduced an abrupt increase in the concern for the economics of software developments Whereas the cost of software often equals that of hardware in megacomputer systems, it can totally dominate the economics of a micro...