The history of a subject helps us not only to understand how the important ideas were born but also to appreciate the amount of progress that has been made. The history of programming languages is a striking example, because basic concepts that we now regard as self-evident were by no means obvious a priori; many years of hard work by brilliant and dedicated people were necessary before these basic principles were learned.
This talk will discuss contributions of Zuse (1945), Goldstine and von Neumann (1946), Curry (1948), Mauchly et al (1949), Burks (1950), Wheeler (1951), Rutishauser (1951), Böhm (1951), Glennie (1952), Hopper et al (1953), Laning and Zierler (1953), Brooker (1954), Kaminynin and Ljubimskiy (1954), Ershov (1955), Grems and Porter (1955), Elsworth et al (1955), Blum (1956), Perlis et al (1956), Katz et al (1956), Bauer and Samelson (1956), Melahn et al (1956), as well as the prototype of FORTRAN developed by Backus et al from 1954 to 1957. At least a dozen of these efforts will be illustrated by showing how a particular procedure called the TPK algorithm might have been coded at the time.
This talk will also celebrate the publication of the speaker's new book, Selected Papers on Computer Languages.
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard
Mountain View, CA, 94043