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Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 6 months ago



The scope of the computing language “Titan autocode” is restricted to the work that was carried out at the Cambridge Laboratory. It was used in various projects carried out at the laboratory. However, it was kept alive only by it's use in the Cambridge algebra system, later called CAMAL.


It was primarily developed to be an Autocode for the Titan Machine. Primary Application Domains

Autocode is a class of simple high-level programming language. It was devised for a series of machines at the University of Manchester and Cambridge. Autocode was the assembly language accepted by Autocoder. Autocodes were written because of the difficulty in writing assemblers. It was the intermediate step between assemblers and high level languages, although it was still fairly low level. The assembly language or assembler code was an attempt at producing a mechanism for writing programs in a language which was more natural to the user than writing machine code. Autocode is considered “high level” as the syntax is more human readable. This meant that it was more problem orientated than machine orientated.


Versions of Autocode were developed for Ferranti Atlas, Mercury, Pegasus, IBM 702 and IBM 705 and lastly Titan! Below is a summary of what the Atlas and Mercury Autocode were about. Hopefully this will provide you with a taster of what the other Autocodes did, before getting into Titan.


Where It Fits


Atlas Autocode

Atlas Autocode was developed at Manchester University and was the autocode for the Ferranti Atlas. 1 3 It was developed by Tony Brooker as an improvement on the ALGOL programming language. It resembled a cross between FORTRAN and ALGOL 60. The language was devised for the Atlas computer. It had call-by-value, loops, declarations, complex numbers, pointers, heap and stack storage generators dynamic arrays, and extensible syntax. 2 The Atlas compiler generated range checking for array access and the language allowed an array to have dimensions that was determined at run-time. The compiler was the original “Compiler Compiler” of which “YACC – (Yet Another Compiler Compiler)” was derived from. 3


Mercury Autocode

Mercury Autocode was an early language for the Ferranti Mercury computer. The language was similar to early versions of Fortran. It has variable types such as integers, real and complex, arrays, loop constructs and a built in library for some 40 functions which included sin and matrix inversions. It also had the ability to translate formulas and perform I/O editing. It was one of the first extensible languages.3


1 The Ferranti Atlas may have been the first commercial computer with hardware-paged virtual memory.

2 See http://computing-ictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Atlas+Autocode+programming+language

3 See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki

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