[TUHS] Happy birthday, John Backus!

Tim Rylance tuhs at tkr.bondplaza.com
Wed Dec 5 02:24:17 AEST 2018

> On 4 Dec 2018, at 14:53, Clem Cole <clemc at ccc.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 9:43 AM Noel Chiappa <jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu <mailto:jnc at mercury.lcs.mit.edu>> wrote:
>  Which brings up an interesting query - I wonder when/what the last compiler written in assembler was? 
> Excellent question -- IBM's Fortran-H maybe?   circa mid 1970's would be my guess.
The Fortran H compiler was mostly written in Fortran: 27,415 lines of Fortran and 16,721 lines of assembler according to slide 12 of [1].

There were some language extensions (structures and pointers) to support this, enabled by the secret compiler option XL.  They are described in Appendix J of the Program Logic Manual for the compiler [2].

The early-1980s Fortran 77 compiler for the GEC 4090 was written in Babbage, a thin PL/360-like veneer over the raw 4090 instruction set.

[1] http://booksite.elsevier.com/9780120884780/Graduate_Lecture_Slides/Core_Lectures/02FortranH.ppt

[2] http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/ibm/360/fortran/Y28-6642-3_FortH_PLM_Nov68.pdf

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