On the Future of Computer Program Specification and Organization

by R. M. Balzer

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback23 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Summarizes the currently available methods of organizing computer programs — subroutine pyramid, generators, co-routines, and passed subroutines — and presents an alternative concept, program integration, based on use of the total context rather than specific procedures. Most of a typical program is devoted to housekeeping data — subroutine save areas, parameter passing mechanisms, indices, pointers, tree and list structures, dictionaries — that have nothing to do with the specific problem but rather with its computer solution. Programs expressed entirely in problem-specific terms require implied rather than specified processing; logical process specifications not affected by data representation; dynamic linkage by the dynamic adaptive modification at execution; and dynamic requesting of information as required from the current context. Steps in this direction include CORC, DWIM, VERS, question-answering systems, PL/I ON-UNITS, "Dataless Programming" (described in RM-5290) and Ports (described in R-605). The field is ripe for a breakthrough. (See also R-562, R-563, R-603, RM-5611.)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.