New kid on the block / introduction

M. Edward (Ed) Borasky znmeb at
Sun Nov 5 02:57:26 PST 2006

cstb wrote:
> Seems to me that a "merging of concepts from Fortran and Lisp"
> was pretty significant at the time, and this carries through to
> the present. Block structure was unique as well, not to mention
> 'thunking' (a bad idea, but unique).  So I'd include Algol.

Well ... Algol was certainly on the list back in 1958 when it first came
on the scene, but the computer scientists rather quickly realized it was
theoretically equivalent to the lambda calculus, which sort of made it a
dialect of Lisp. I consider Algol the merging of Fortran and Lisp.

> Cobol
I'd actually think SNOBOL or COMIT would be more unique than COBOL.

> Basic
BASIC was essentially a dialect of Fortran, and its only other claim to
fame -- being an interactive language -- got beaten out by the much more
elegant APL.

> Simula
Well ... really a dialect of Algol too.

> C
Another dialect of Algol.

> Snobol
Yeah ... this probably belongs in the list.

> Prolog
Well ... really a dialect of Lisp ... see "miniKanren" for an
implementation in Scheme.

> I'd pile all the shell/scripty things together in a lump
> and include it as Perl, reluctantly.
Algol with regular expressions :). Another reason to have either SNOBOL
or COMIT in the list.

> Seems the last decade or two present little to qualify with.
> If you consider Linda a language, rather than just an architecture,
> then it probably belongs on the list.
Now that's an interesting point. Even today, we do concurrency mostly at
the OS level and wrap it in libraries called by non-concurrent
languages. All the wonderful theory of concurrency (Petri nets, CSP and
CCS, process algebras, etc.) only showed up in one or two languages --
Occam and Concurrent Pascal are the only two I can think of right now --
but hasn't really been formally part of any mainstream language.

The current crop of dual and quad core processors will no doubt spawn
(pun intended) a few new "languages", but I'm sure the technology to get
us back on serial machines will once again appear and we won't have to
do the hard work of reasoning about concurrency.

> Erlang, maybe.
Lisp ... so is Haskell and ML. :)

> Eiffel, maybe.
I don't know anything about Eiffel.

> Can't think of anything else with defendable credentials.
> Someone ought to put up a fight for ADA, I suppose.  But not me ;-)
PL/I, which is a dialect of Algol, but with syntax from another dialect
of Algol, Pascal.

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