Computer History  

Custom Search

Computer History
Tracing the History of the Computer - ALGOL 58


ALGOL 58 is the first language in the ALGOL programming language family. It was an early compromise design soon superseded by ALGOL 60; ALGOL 58 introduced the fundamental notion of compound statement, but it was restricted to control flow only, and it was not tied to identifier scope.

The language was originally proposed to be called IAL (International Algebraic Language), but at a meeting in Zürich in May 1958, IAL was rejected as an "'unspeakable' and pompous acronym" (Perlis, 1981), and ALGOL suggested instead, though not officially adopted until a year later. Unresolved disagreements also led to a plan to define two dialects, ALGOL 58 and ALGOL 60.

ALGOL 58 saw some implementation effort at IBM, but the effort was in competition with FORTRAN, and soon abandoned. It was also implemented at Dartmouth College on an LGP-30 but that implementation soon evolved into Algol 60. An implementation for the Burroughs 220 called BALGOL evolved along its own lines as well, but retained much of ALGOL 58's original character.

ALGOL 58's primary contribution was to later languages; it was used as a basis for JOVIAL, MAD, NELIAC and ALGO. It was also used during 1959 to publish algorithms in CACM, beginning a trend of using ALGOL notation in publication that continued for many years.


History of Programming Languages

Programming Timeline

Algol 60

Algol 68


Copyright Notice for Computer Nostalgia


  Privacy Policy 

 GNU License