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The Origins of APL - 1974

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Uploaded on Jan 10, 2012

I posted this video on Myspace on July 20, 2009 where it has received 4604 views as of today.

Talk show style in­ter­view with the orig­i­nal de­vel­op­ers of APL. Eric Iverson says my dad was off in Denmark at the time. I post­ed this video to pro­mote my doc­u­men­tary film about APL and its family of ar­ray pro­gram­ming lan­guages A/J/K/Q.

A brief his­to­ry of this show, "The Ori­gins of APL" -​ from John R. Clarke

At the 5th APL conference held in Toron­to Cana­da in 1973 it was agreed that the 6th conference would be held in Ana­heim Cal­i­for­nia with the Coast Com­mu­ni­ty Col­lege Dis­trict (CC­CD) as the host in­sti­tu­tion. The CC­CD, at the time, con­sist­ed of two col­leges Or­ange Coast Col­lege (OCC) and the Gold­en West Col­lege (GWC) and a Pub­lic Broad­cast Tele­vi­sion sta­tion KOCE. Rough­ly 45,000 stu­dents were en­rolled in the two schools. OCC was the first two year col­lege to teach com­put­ers start­ing in 1959.

Dr. Iver­son had in­formed us at Toron­to that he would not serve as the ban­quet speak­er. This pre­sent­ed the or­ga­niz­ing group with a ma­jor prob­lem. In fall of 1973, John R. Clarke was sent to at­tend a con­fer­ence at the Ed­u­ca­tion­al Test­ing Ser­vice near Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty. While there, he sneaked off and went to the IBM Sci­en­tif­ic Cen­ter in Philadel­phia to meet with Iverson and Falkoff. He then pitched the idea of cut­ting a tape and us­ing it at the ban­quet. Iver­son was not im­pressed, but when Falkoff ask why it should be done, John replied that he would bet 90% of the peo­ple us­ing FOR­TRAN did not know who John Bac­cus was and how FOR­TRAN was de­vel­oped. Falkoff went to see Iver­son, and it was agreed. The show would be cut. Iver­son had giv­en John a copy of the de­scrip­tion of sys­tem/360, and the TV sta­tion had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to set up the props for the show. The tape was shot in re­al time the morn­ing be­fore the ban­quet in the evening. There was no cut­ting or prac­tice ses­sions. There was a meet­ing the pre­vi­ous evening in which about the on­ly thing that was agreed on was the word "ba­sic" should not be used, and "fun­da­men­tal" should be used in­stead. David Clements the host, was a sys­tems anal­y­sis/pro­gram­mer who worked for the dis­trict da­ta pro­cess­ing. He had had some TV ex­pe­ri­ence pri­or to join­ing CC­CD. He had al­most no APL ex­pe­ri­ence.

www.aprogramminglanguage.com

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