Soviet Cybernetics Technology

IX, ALGEC-Summary and Critique

by Niklaus Wirth


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A summary and evaluation of the preliminary and final versions of ALGEC, the Soviets' Algorithmic Language for Economics Problems. A computer programming language for economics data processing, ALGEC is an almost pure extension of ALGOL 60. The deletions are in conformity with the IFIP-approved SUBSET ALGOL. The extensions add features obviously needed to handle nonnumeric data. While not a complete list processing language, ALGEC appears to be adequate for business data processing, with the possible exception of decimal arithmetric. Also, input-output transfers cannot be identified by source. The retention of nested strings from ALGOL is an unnecessary complication, and the use of COBOL-style data structures (lists) precludes the handling of data with complex and dynamically varying relationships. Definitions lack precision, and the semantic and syntactic rules are unrealistic.

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