I've documented the Ahl benchmark's history, and now I would like to do the same for Byte's version of the sieve. Does anyone have a pointer to the first appearance of this code as a benchmarking tool in that magazine?
The earliest use, as far as I can determine, of the sieve of Eratosthenes as a benchmark in Byte’s editorial content is in the September 1981 issue, page 180: “A High-Level Language Benchmark”. The article introduces the algorithm and a number of implementations, and uses it to compare various interpreters and compilers on different platforms.
This approach was revisited in the January 1983 issue, page 283: “Eratosthenes Revisited — Once More through the Sieve”, and again in the August 1984 issue, page 132, when the Byte Unix benchmark was introduced.
Not exactly what you are looking for, but meets the technical statement of "a pointer to the first appearance of this code as a benchmarking tool in that magazine" and is earlier than Stephen Kitt's answer. November 1980:
This is in an ad for Digital Research PL/I, and specifically refers to "Erastothenes Sieve" as a benchmark. Though I suppose that leaves open the question of how Digital Research's Sieve compares to the BYTE Magazine Sieve.