beanz Magazine

ALGOL

This programming language introduced ideas and solutions we take for granted in today's languages.

The history of programming languages began in the 1950s with the evolution of software from flipping switches on massive machines in the 1940s to computers built and sold by IBM, Burroughs, and others. The new computers had custom software that only worked on the company’s computers. Imagine if Java only worked on Dell computers running Windows. And C++ only worked on Lenovo computers running Linux.

By the mid-1950s, efforts in Europe and the US started to create a universal software programming language. ALGOL — short for ALGOrithmic Language — was specified in 1958 to meet these goals:

  • Similar to mathematical notation and readable with little explanation needed.
  • Usable to describe computing processes in publications.
  • Translate into machine programs mechanically.
  • Work on any computer.

 

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