Questions tagged [algol]

Questions about the Algol languages: Algol 58 (IAL), Algol 60, Algol 68.

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46 votes
2 answers
6k views

What did the DoD think Fortran lacked?

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COBOL the project to design COBOL began when On 28 and 29 May 1959 (exactly one year after the Zürich ALGOL 58 meeting), a meeting was held at the Pentagon ...
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17 votes
2 answers
1k views

Can I really change standard operator priorities in ALGOL 68?

In Algol 68, I can declare the priority (precedence) of an operator-symbol: prio @ = 5; (Higher number means higher precedence). I can apparently redefine the priorities of built-in operators: ...
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13 votes
3 answers
1k views

How did the Burroughs B5000/B5500 provide hardware support for implementing Algol's call-by-name?

According to a 2019 presentation about Burroughs Extended Algol, the Burroughs B5000 and B5500 (and presumably their descendants) had “Hardware support for Call-by-Name (‘thunks’)”. It goes on to say ...
  • 3,357
12 votes
3 answers
1k views

What is the story behind 'goto' vs 'go' 'to' in ALGOL-60?

Preamble As Algol-60 had no reserved words, the language keywords had to be specially marked, e.g. prefixed with an underscore with a trailing space or semicolon (_begin _integer i;i:=42_end), or ...
  • 16.7k
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

How good is this random number algorithm?

What follows are the random number generation routines from an ALGOL-60 computational math library, stored on a BESM-6 disk in a text form. The character encoding was with parity, imitating a punched ...
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9 votes
4 answers
1k views

Did the Algol 68 standard allow a procedure to be called before its declaration?

In Algol 68, is it legal to say this? proc even = (int x) bool: (x = 0 | true | odd(x – 1)); proc odd = (int x) bool: (x = 0 | false | even(x – 1)); Forward references in structures are used in the ...
  • 3,357
9 votes
2 answers
996 views

Was there an input device capable of entering all Algol 60 symbols with correct appearance?

This question was inspired by recent discussion on early keyboards and character sets, and mention in passing about how the COBOL designers were concerned about not using "non-existent" ...
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5 votes
1 answer
203 views

Which extant ALGOL-60 compilers fully support numeric labels?

This question is prompted by a related one by texdr.aft. It turns out that the Revised report on Algol-60 allowed numeric labels (3.5.1, page 15), <label> ::= <identifier> | <unsigned ...
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3 votes
2 answers
624 views

Which language was faster at executing programs, Algol or Fortran?

For scientific and high performance computing Algol was considered, and possibly is still considered by some, to be a more powerful language than Fortran. For the same algorithm encoded in both ...
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3 votes
1 answer
813 views

Why were procedure parameter specifications optional in the ALGOL 60 Revised Report?

In Algol 60 procedure declarations, the 'specification' part was optional for by-name parameters. The specification is what gives (loosely speaking) the type of parameter - whether it's real, integer,...
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