Computer Simulation Programming Languages

Perspective and Prognosis

by Philip J. Kiviat


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An overview of the languages devised especially for programming computer simulations developed since 1959. Some are based on transaction flows (GPSS), others on cause-and-effect relationships expressed in events (SIMSCRIPT), activities (CSL), or processes (SIMULA). Other principal differences are static or dynamic storage allocation, levels of indirect referencing, and ability to form complex data structures. Languages may be executed interpretively by a control program (GPSS), may be direct extensions of general-purpose compilers (SIMULA of ALGOL), source languages to compilers (early SIMSCRIPT and CSL, GASP, and FORSIM IV to FORTRAN) or compile directly into assembly code (SIMSCRIPT 1.5, Extended CSL, CSL-2). The trend is away from terseness toward readability and descriptive power.

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