History of Computing 101: Preparing a program… 60 years ago

In 1954, MIT held a “Summer Session” on “Digital Computers – Advanced Coding Techniques“, a likely prelude to the conferences that would follow. This was the era which spawned the first true “programming” languages, so it is an interesting read. In the introduction the writer, one C.W. Adams, describes the process which is required in preparing a program for a computer:

  1. analyzing problem
  2. planning
  3. coding
  4. typing (or keypunching)
  5. trying
  6. debugging
  7. running
  8. analyzing results

Ironically, sixty years on, the process of writing a program is not vastly different. He goes on to say “the running may be made more efficient by careful coding“, thereby reducing the computer time. Programming languages were ostensibly developed in part “due to the need for simplification of coding to accommodate the new and,the non-professional programmers – the amateurs who regard programming merely as a necessary evil“.

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