What Hath Von Neumann Wrought? Programming before programming languages

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Accepted Session
Short Form
Intermediate
Scheduled: Thursday, June 23, 2016 from 11:00 – 11:45am in B304

Excerpt

We program today in a rich environment, but that wasn't always the case. We celebrate the pioneers of programming languages: Grace Hopper (COBOL), John Backus (FORTRAN), John McCarthy (LISP), Kenneth Iverson (APL) and Peter Naur (ALGOL). But there was a time before programming languages. How did people program back then? I'll show you!

Description

We program today in a rich environment:

  • numerous abstract programming paradigms,
  • elegant realizations of those paradigms in programming languages,
  • well-crafted run-times, interpreters and compilers,
  • distributed version control systems for collaboration,
  • integrated development environments, and
  • documentation tools.

We celebrate the pioneers of programming languages: Grace Hopper (COBOL), John Backus (FORTRAN), John McCarthy (LISP), Kenneth Iverson (APL), Peter Naur (ALGOL) and many others. But how did people program before programming languages?

I’m going to take you back to that time – specifically, to the Von Neumann machine. I’ll tell you a little bit about Von Neumann himself, and then describe the Von Neumann machine and its language.

The Von Neumann architecture is both phenomenally simple and profoundly revolutionary. Because it’s so simple, it’s easy to build an emulator. With that emulator, I’ll show you how to write a simple program on a Von Neumann machine.

Tags

History of computing, John Von Neumann

Speaking experience

I've been speaking since I was a child. ;-) But seriously, I used to give sales presentations and demos for high-performance computing, I was on Jeopardy! and I was in 25 plays when I was a graduate student - in applied mathematics.

Oh, yeah - and I was a speaker last year at Open Source Bridge - http://opensourcebridge.org/sessions/1583

Speaker

Leave a private comment to organizers about this proposal