Thursday, 9 June 2011

Reprint: Computer Journal papers 1971

The Papers which officially introduced CODIL

Following the merger to form ICL it was decided to close down the research division where the research was being carried out., including the project itself. It was agreed that if I could find a university home for the project I could continue the research, as long as I did so without criticising ICL for closing the project. This made making extravagant claims for the approach unacceptable, and a neutral, factual approach to the first paper, which was drafted and agreed at ICL, It was also agreed that the hardware aspects of the approach should be played down.
The following paper is substantially the agreed draft, with some changes suggested by the editor of the journal, plus changes because, due to an editorial error, a later paper was printed first.

CODIL
Part 2: The CODIL language and its interpreter

C. F. Reynolds
Computer Journal
Vol 14, pp 327-332, November, 1971

ABSTRACT
The paper described CODIL, a novel non-numerical computer language in which no distinction is made between information and data. Each language statement is a list of identically formatted items of information linked together by implied ANDs. There statements may be listed together so as to form a tree structure. Processing is under the control of a decision making routine which automatically compares items from 'criteria' and 'facts' statements. The decision making routine forms the central section of the Pilot Program, a CODIL interpreter which has been implemented on System 4 computers.
  Full text (pdf)
CODIL had its first public exposure at a meeting of the British Computer Society Advanced Programming Group Meeting in London in May1970. This created a lot of interest and my handout was reprinted in The Computer Bulletin, Vol 14, pp 244-245, July 1970. The first paper was presented days after I left ICL, at the  Conference on Man-Computer Interaction, Teddington, 2-4 September, 1970 and appeared in the proceedings, IEE Conference Publication No 68, pp 211-216, 1970.
In March 1971 a paper, The importance of flexibility, was given at Datafair 71. Papers at this conference were not published so I sent off a copy to the Computer Journal - and was very surprised at the speed in which it appeared.

CODIL
Part 1. The Importance of Flexibility

C. F. Reynolds
Computer Journal
Vol 14, pp 217-220, August, 1971

ABSTRACT
Many non-numerical data processing systems prove to be insufficiently flexible. This paper discusses some examples of how inflexibility manifests itself and how application specific languages can help. It then described a novel language, CODIL, specifically designed for use with complex non-numerical problems, with particular emphasis on Management Information Systems.
  Full text (pdf)
At the same time as I was publishing the above papers ICL was finalizing the patents:

Information handling system for eliminating distinctions between data items and program instructionsUnited States PatentNo 3,633,179, 4 January, 1972
 Improvements in or relating to data processing systemsUK Patent SpecificationNo 1,265,006, 1 March, 1972

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