Re: Forward into the past! (Dan Salomon)
Sun, 5 Jan 1992 12:54:53 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: (Dan Salomon)
Keywords: storage, design
Organization: Computer Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
References: 91-12-075 92-01-004
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 1992 12:54:53 GMT

In article 92-01-004 (Dale R. Worley) writes:
> It's hard to resist noting that this feature [dynamic arrays] was in
> Algol 60. That it has taken C and Fortran 30 years to adopt it says
> something about the computer community.

It's also hard to resist noting that Algol 60 used call-by-name parameter
passing. It was soon realized that this parameter passing method did not
lead to readable or maintainable programs, and was an implementation
nightmare. It was never used again. The only modern use for call-by-name
parameter passing is to torment innocent computer science students.
Algol-60 introduced many new and useful ideas, but it was by no means the
ideal language.
[Alan Perlis, who was on the Algol 60 committee, once told me that call by
name was basically a mistake. They had intended to formalize call by
reference and it wasn't until Jensen's device that they realized how different
by name was from by reference. Algol 60 was also, as far as I know, the first
language with nested name scopes and recursion, both of which are quite
standard now. -John]

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