IBM Journal of Research and Development
IBM Skip to main content
  Home     Products & services     Support & downloads     My account  

  Select a country  
Journals Home  
  Systems Journal  
Journal of Research
and Development
    Current Issue  
    Recent Issues  
    Papers in Progress  
    Recent publications  
    Author's Guide  
  Contact Us  
  Related links:  
     IBM Research  

IBM Journal of Research and Development  
Volume 25, Number 5, Page 520 (1981)
25th Anniversary Issue
  Full article: arrowPDF   arrowCopyright info


History of IBM's Technical Contributions to High Level Programming Languages

by J. E. Sammet
This paper discusses IBM's technical contributions to high level programming languages from the viewpoint of specific languages and their contributions to the technology. The philosophy used in this paper is that it is the appropriate collection of features in a language which generally makes the contribution to the technology, rather than an individual feature. Those IBM languages deemed to have made major contributions are (in alphabetical order) APL, FORTRAN, GPSS, and PL/I. Smaller contributions (because of lesser general usage) have been made by Commercial Translator, CPS, FORMAC, QUIKTRAN, and SCRATCHPAD. Major contributions were made in the area of formal definition of languages, through the introduction of BNF (Backus-Naur Form) for defining language syntax and VDL (Vienna Definition Language) for semantics.
Related Subjects: Compilers and interpreters; Programming, programs, and programming languages