Max Hailperin <>
8 Feb 2007 08:19:21 -0500

          From comp.compilers

Related articles
Re: PL/MIX (Roberto Waltman) (2007-02-07)
Re: PL/MIX (Max Hailperin) (2007-02-08)
Re: PL/MIX (Allan Adler) (2007-02-08)
Re: PL/MIX (Roberto Waltman) (2007-02-08)
Re: PL/MIX (glen herrmannsfeldt) (2007-02-08)
Re: PL/MIX (Steven Nichols) (2007-02-09)
Re: PL/MIX (Allan Adler) (2007-02-09)
Re: PL/MIX (Allan Adler) (2007-02-11)
[5 later articles]
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From: Max Hailperin <>
Newsgroups: comp.programming,comp.compilers
Followup-To: comp.compilers
Date: 8 Feb 2007 08:19:21 -0500
Organization: Compilers Central
References: <> 07-02-018
Keywords: assembler
Posted-Date: 08 Feb 2007 08:19:21 EST

Allan Adler wrote:
> >In his Art of Computer Programming (2d ed, 1973), vol.1, p.152, Knuth writes:
> >"Actually MIX has two assembly languages: MIXAL, the machine-oriented
> >language which is designed to facilitate one-pass translation by a
> >relatively short assembly program, and PL/MIX, which more adequately
> >reflects data and control structures and which looks rather like the Remarks
> >field of MIXAL programs. PL/MIX will be described in Chapter 9."

To which our moderator responded:

> [Assemblers with high level syntax have been around for a long time.
> In 1966 Wirth wrote the classic PL360, an IBM 360 assembler with Algol
> syntax, as the implementation languge for Algol W. It was in use for
> a long time -- in 1988 someone wrote to comp.compilers hoping to find
> a PL360 to C translator to translate a whole lot of PL360 code he was
> in charge of. Later in the 1970s PL/M was a hacked down version of
> PL/I with extra stuff added to make it an assmbler substitute
> originally for the 8080, and later for the 8086, 286, and 386. Also
> look for Bell Labs' lil, a low level implementation language that was
> abandoned when they discovered that C could do everything it could
> do. -John]

Some additional historical context may help readers sort out the
connection between PL360 and PL/MIX. Wirth was at Stanford when he
developed PL360 and Algol W. (He moved to Zurich in 1968.) PL360
remained popular at Stanford for a number of years, including
undergoing some evolution (see the May 1972 Stanford CS Tech report by
Malcolm). Meanwhile Knuth had arrived at Stanford, joining the
faculty in 1968. So you've got PL360 at the same time and place as
Knuth is writing about PL/MIX. I'd say that adds pretty good evidence
to John's implicit suggestion that the one is the inspiration for the
other. -max

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