A Science of Operations: Machines, Logic and the Invention by Mark Priestley

By Mark Priestley

Today, pcs fulfil a blinding array of roles, a flexibility as a result of the good diversity of programsthat could be run on them.

A technology of Operations examines the historical past of what we now name programming, outlined no longer easily as computer programming, yet extra greatly because the definition of the stairs serious about computations and different information-processing actions. This exact point of view highlights how the heritage of programming is exact from the heritage of the pc, regardless of the shut dating among the 2 within the 20th century. The booklet additionally discusses how the improvement of programming languages is said to disparate fields which tried to provide a mechanical account of language at the one hand, and a linguistic account of machines at the other.

Topics and features:

  • Covers the early improvement of automated computing, together with Babbage’s “mechanical calculating engines” and the functions of punched-card technology
  • Examines the theoretical paintings of mathematical logicians comparable to Kleene, Church, publish and Turing, and the machines outfitted by means of Zuse and Aiken within the Nineteen Thirties and 1940s
  • Discusses the position that good judgment performed within the improvement of the saved application computer
  • Describes the “standard version” of machine-code programming popularised by means of Maurice Wilkes
  • Presents the full desk for the common Turing computer within the Appendices
  • Investigates the increase of the projects aimed toward constructing higher-level programming notations, and the way those got here to be regarded as ‘languages’ which may be studied independently of a machine
  • Examines the significance of the Algol 60 language, and the framework it supplied for learning the layout of programming languages and the method of software program development
  • Explores the early improvement of object-oriented languages, with a spotlight at the Smalltalk project

This attention-grabbing textual content bargains a brand new standpoint for historians of technological know-how and know-how, in addition to for the final reader. The ancient narrative builds the tale in a transparent and logical style, approximately following chronological order.

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Extra resources for A Science of Operations: Machines, Logic and the Invention of Programming

Example text

17. 45 Allen Bromley describes in detail the conditional operations implemented within the mill, and gives Babbage the credit for originating “the whole concept of a conditional sequence of operations in a machine, and in particular of a conditional dependence on the outcome of previous actions of the machine” (Bromley 1982). 46 Babbage (1837b), p. 20. 5 The Analytical Engine 35 The independence of the operation and variable cards is a notable feature of the design of the Analytical Engine. The cards controlled the operations of separate parts of the machine, the mill and the store, respectively.

This re-examination began with a reconsideration of the mechanism necessary to transfer numbers from one column to another. Babbage had examined this ten years earlier, when considering how transcendental functions could be computed on the difference engine, but had put the matter aside while concentrating on the practical problems of building the machine. 37 Computation of functions by this new method would also require the ability to handle negative as well as positive numbers, and to perform multiplications.

However, no details were given of the mechanisms that would enable the engine to perform this kind of conditional execution of operations, nor of the details of the cards that would be required to specify them. However, Menabrea did draw the following general conclusion about the scope and power of this procedure: This example illustrates how the cards are able to reproduce all the operations which intellect performs in order to attain a determinate result, if these operations are themselves capable of being precisely defined.

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