A Survey of Soviet Work in the Theory of Computer Programming

by Robert Di Paola


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A critical survey of Soviet efforts to develop a mathematical theory of computer programming and automatic programming methods (PP or programming programs). The study traces the development of the "operator" theory of A. A. Lyapunov and his associates from its starting point in program schemes designed to represent specific problem-solving algorithms to its algebraic formulation in terms of the theory of categories. Other authors have attempted to adapt graph theory and the theory of algorithms to the construction of better programming languages. In contrast to FORTRAN, the practical result of PP has been to raise, rather than lower, the level of technical knowledge required for programming. Current Soviet research is directed toward adaptation and extension of ALGOL 60 rather than further theoretical work. Some of the Russian work, however, may be of practical relevance, particularly Glebov's synthesis of operators from measurably simpler ones.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

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.