Lambda the Ultimate

inactiveTopic Cracking the 500-Language Problem
started 7/27/2002; 2:50:05 AM - last post 7/27/2002; 2:50:05 AM
jon fernquest - Cracking the 500-Language Problem  blueArrow
7/27/2002; 2:50:05 AM (reads: 1714, responses: 0)
Cracking the 500-Language Problem
This paper is an interesting excursion into programming language archeology, a retrospective of a problem that the Y2K people faced, the 500 language problem, namely the reality that you have to write parsers for the 500 to 700 different languages that exist in the world before you can do semantic transformations on them. Cobol which accounts for 30% of the software in the world is almost a 500 language problem in itself:

If everyone were using Cobol and only a few systems were written in uncommon languages, the 500-Language Problem would not be important. So, knowing the actual language distribution of installed software is useful. First, there are about 300 Cobol dialects, and each compiler product has a few versionsówith many patch levels. Also, Cobol often contains embedded languages such as DMS, DML, CICS, and SQL. So there is no such thing as "the Cobol language." It is a polyglot, a confusing mixture of dialects and embedded languagesóa 500-Language Problem of its own.

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Posted to history by jon fernquest on 7/27/02; 2:56:05 AM