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The American side of the development of Algol

Perlis, Alan J. (1978) The American side of the development of Algol. ACM SIGPLAN Notices, 13 (8). pp. 3-14. ISSN 0362-1340. doi:10.1145/960118.808369.

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History is contextual. The Algol* development was a product, perhaps a miraculous product, of its time. All developments proceed, almost implacably, from the primitive to the rococco, e.g. from Algol58 through Algol60 to Algol68 with an appearance of a large number of offshoots (e.g., JOVIAL, MAD, NELIAC and Euler), extensions (FORMULA ALGOL and LCC), virile offspring (PASCAL), etc., occurring enroute. The earliest developments appear clean, surprising us in the new views they reveal. One frets over why the vision that prompted the beginning weakened during the course of future developments. Perhaps it is inevitable that, as unexpected complexity is uncovered, smoothness, equal value if you will, in solutions cannot be maintained. Trivia cannot be identified easily, special cases overwhelm the search for general patterns, custom and habit move performance into the realm of objective concept, experience warps both intuition and reason, fear of instability burdens insight with caution. The elegance of Algol's offspring is a tribute to the grace and power of the original. Algol, a second generation language, was more graceful than any of its predecessors, for example FORTRAN, MATHMATIC and IT.

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Additional Information:© 1978 ACM.
Issue or Number:8
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161207-174333530
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Official Citation:Alan J. Perlis. 1978. The American side of the development of Algol. SIGPLAN Not. 13, 8 (August 1978), 3-14. DOI=
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:72650
Deposited On:08 Dec 2016 03:42
Last Modified:11 Nov 2021 05:04

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