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Re: [ontolog-forum] FW: [ontology-summit] Simula

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Jack Ring <jring7@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 2010 13:38:27 -0700
Message-id: <94A2C7E3-DC65-40BC-A53B-95A68490DF35@xxxxxxxxx>
(Moved from ontology-summit)
--- orignal post by John Sowa ---


Perhaps I am being too picky but I think Simula is
a modeling language, not a programming language.

The borderline is not sharp.  You can take a declarative language
like Horn-clause logic or data flow diagrams, design a compiler
or interpreter for it, and you have a programming language.

But Simula 67 was definitely designed and used as a programming
language.  The primary reason why it didn't become popular is that
Oslo University, where it was designed and implemented, tried to
recoup their investment by selling it.

I was at IBM at the time (1969), and I wanted to get a copy to try
it out.  But the cost (in 1969 dollars) was $20K for commercial
companies.  My manager said that if it was necessary for my job,
we could buy it.  But I had to admit that my major interest was
to try it out and "kick the tires".

A few years later, Niklaus Wirth designed and implemented
a much simpler language called Pascal.  Instead of selling it,
he gave the compiler away to anybody that asked for it.  Most
universities were looking for a successor to Algol 60, and
Algol 68 was too complex.  So they got a copy of the Pascal
compiler and ported it to their favorite hardware.

I was in GE Aerospace an 1969. Dr. Shuey, GE R&D Center, brought it to my attention and suggested I try it for representing a descriptive model of a spacecraft then for formulating a prescriptive model. I guess we misused it but it sure gave us insight into ways of representing systems. Then we wrote the programs in Jules Own Version of the International Algorithmic Language because the USAF said we had to.

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