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Programming languages: history and future

By Jean E. Sammet

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 15 No. 7, Pages 601-610

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This paper discusses both the history and future of programming languages ( = higher level languages). Some of the difficulties in writing such a history are indicated. A key part of the paper is a tree showing the chronological development of languages and their interrelationships. Reasons for the proliferation of languages are given. The major languages are listed with the reasons for their importance. A section on chronology indicates the happenings of the significant previous time periods and the major topics of 1972. Key concepts other than specific languages are discussed.

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