Speedcoding

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Speedcoding
Paradigm structured, object-oriented, generic
Designed by John Backus
Developer John Backus and IBM
First appeared 1953
Typing discipline strong, static, manifest
Influenced by
Assembly language, machine code
Influenced
Fortran, ALGOL 58, BASIC, C, PL/I, PACT I, MUMPS, Ratfor

Speedcoding or Speedcode was the first high order or high-level language created for an IBM computer.[1] The language was developed by John Backus in 1953 for the IBM 701 to support computation with floating point numbers.[2] Here high level means symbolic and aiming for natural language expressivity as a goal as opposed to machine or hardware instruction oriented coding.

The idea arose from the difficulty of programming the IBM SSEC machine when Backus was hired to calculate astronomical positions in early 1950.[3] The speedcoding system was an interpreter and focused on ease of use at the expense of system resources. It provided pseudo-instructions for common mathematical functions: logarithms, exponentiation, and trigonometric operations. The resident software analyzed pseudo-instructions one by one and called the appropriate subroutine. Speedcoding was also the first implementation of decimal input/output operations. Although it substantially reduced the effort of writing many jobs, the running time of a program that was written with the help of Speedcoding was usually ten to twenty times that of machine code.[4] The interpreter took 310 memory words, about 30% of the memory available on a 701.[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b F. E. Allen (September 1981). "The History of Language Processor Technology in IBM". IBM Journal of Research and Development 25 (5): 535–548. doi:10.1147/rd.255.0535. 
  2. ^ Shasha, Dennis; Cathy Lazere (1998). Out of their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists. New York: Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. ISBN 0-387-98269-8. 
  3. ^ Interviewed by Grady Booch (September 5, 2006). "Oral History of John Backus" (PDF). Reference number: X3715.2007. Computer History Museum. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  4. ^ Emerson W. Pugh, Lyle R. Johnson, John H. Palmer, IBM's 360 and early 370 systems, MIT Press, 1991, ISBN 0-262-16123-0, p. 38

Further reading[edit]

  • Backus, John, "The IBM 701 Speedcoding System", Journal of the ACM (JACM), Volume 1, Issue 1 (January 1954), pp. 4-6,
  • Backus, John W.; Harlan, Herrick (May 1954). "IBM 701 Speedcoding and Other Automatic-programming Systems". Proc. Symp. on Automatic Programming for Digital Computer. Washington DC, The Office of Naval Research. pp. 106–113. 
  • Sammet, Jean E. (1969). Programming Languages: History and Fundamentals. Prentice-Hall.