Download ACM Turing Award Lectures : The First Twenty Years : 1966 to by Susan Graham and Robert Ashenhurst (Edited and Introduction PDF

By Susan Graham and Robert Ashenhurst (Edited and Introduction by)

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Extra resources for ACM Turing Award Lectures : The First Twenty Years : 1966 to 1985 (ACM Press Anthology Series)

Sample text

You can quarrel with my sixth argument, for it is not so easy to collect experimental evidence for its support, a fact that will not prevent me from believing in its validity. Up till now I have not mentioned the word "hierarchy," but I think that it is fair to say that this is a key concept for all systems embodying a nicely factored solution. I could even go one step further and make an article of faith out of it, viz. that the only problems we can really solve in a satisfactory manner are those that finally admit a nicely factored solution.

But there is another factor of much greater weight. In the present situation it is quite usual that for a specific system, the price to be paid for the development of the software is of the same order of magnitude as the price of the hardware needed, and society more or less accepts that. But hardware manufacturers tell us that in the next decade hardware prices can be expected to drop with a factor of ten. If software development were to continue to be the same clumsy and expensive process as it is now, things would get completely out of balance.

One axis along which languages develop is increasing sophistication of data structure definition and control. Whereas ALGOL and its direct descendants have opted for definable variability in data structures, leading to records and theories of types, the models mentioned above have gained support through their dependence on a single compound data structure, such as the list or array. Of course, as their use becomes more widespread, data structure variability will become more of the concern of these models.

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