Request for participation

I've set up a shared google map, for visualizing the distribution of "birth" places of major programming languages. Please assist by placing a pin in the birth place of major general purpose programming languages. Only place major languages for now, in the sense of wide adoption, rather than intellectual significance please (when the two conflict, of course). That is things like: C, C++, Java, COBOL, Fortran etc.

When in doubt whether a language should be included or as regards the appropriate location to use, please share your thoughts here.

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UPENN or the Pentagon? Or both?


UPENN or the Pentagon? Or both?

Heh. Someone bored in a black-ops office in East Nowhere?

The influence of the spooks and pigs and pork-barrel-corrupt on computing will be interesting to fully unravel one day.


More methodology

If a language was invented in one place but became popular when the individual or team moved to a second place, the second place is what should be located on the map (feel free to note this fact in the description attached to the pin).

Important point

As will become apparent soon, it is imperative not to list places where predecessors and sources of inspiration came from. Keep those on hold for awhile longer.

Bell Labs in quantum flux?

The Bell Labs pin seems to be rather arbitrarily placed? Unless its current location in the middle of nowhere about a mile south of Mt. Misery is a comment on something ;)

According to Wikipedia, "Among the historical Bell Laboratories locations in New Jersey were Crawford Hill, Deal, Freehold, Holmdel, Lincroft, Long Branch, Middletown, Murray Hill, Princeton, Piscataway, Red Bank, and Whippany."


I guess it is better to choose one location (I think Murray Hill is the prominent location?), since sociological location is rather more important than geographical location. Fill free to move to a better location!


Added Microsoft (Redmond) - C#, Visual Basic, and perhaps others that qualify as major. Sun (Menlo Park) - Java. And Xerox PARC (Palo Alto) - Smalltalk, but does it qualify?

I also added Ruby as being somewhere in the Shimane Prefecture of Japan, but that may not be quite right as none of the online histories I found mention where Matz was at the time that Ruby was launched.


I think (but that may reflect my experience more than than anything else) that Smalltalk qualifies, whereas I have doubts about Ruby. Among the niche languages it is prominent (mainly due to Rails applications), but other than that, I am not sure.

Up to you

whereas I have doubts about Ruby

I can see your point. I'll leave it up to you whether it meets the bar. I don't have any suggestions as to how to rank language popularity reliably especially if you want peak usage.


For the moment, I think we should concentrate on the "no brainers", i.e., languages that clearly dominated a large part of the mind-share at some point.

Hello World Map

I came across this map, which can be a useful reference. But keep in mind the specific methodological restrictions above.


Shouldn't Ada be added?
As for the location, I think its designers were French but it's the DOD which selected it..

Actually it is there, under

Actually it is there, under the Pentagon.

Since I am interested in patterns of influence, I think the DOD is more important than the nationality, or location, of Ichbiah.

Importan note

I want to thank everyone participating. Please note that I specifically asked for programming languages with a large following and industrial market share. I do not want to split hairs: if there is any doubt, the language does not belong on this map. So please review the following, which seem inappropriate to me, and remove languages that do not fall into the intended category: Scala, Mesa, Cedar, ML, LCF, ELF, PCF, Hope, Links, Twelf, Modula-3, Clean, Ocaml, Coq, Dylan, AppleScript, NewtonScript, Erlang,Lua. In some cases these projects may be relevant to the second category.

If a location should be on the map due to some major language(s), but was also involved with languages with lower penetration, these can be included in parenthesis. If a location is only responsible for languages with lower penetration, it should not be on this map. I hope it will be apparent why soon.



All this talk of the Lazy Web... I asked for participation in a specific project, and what happens? Every language under the sun is put on the map (Cedar?!). This is the map equivalent of trolling. I guess I'll need to do this privately. I hope this is just the result of me going about this the wrong way and nothing more.

Would it skew the results....

...if we were informed of the hypothesis that is behind the experiment?

I suspect that PL history is still a fluid subject with varying opinions on what is and is not important. Better to have an editor with a strong, but informed, opinion to help make sense of it. Of course, that probably defeats the purpose, assuming that this is a search for patterns from raw data.

[Edit Note: My guess would be that the hypothesis has something to do with the relationship between pure research and practical applications?]

You are right. The goal is

You are right. The goal is not so sinister it would skew the result. Without getting into detail (I am on vacation at the moment) the goal was to explore the possibility that the patterns of dissemination of ideas (especially heretical ideas) is different than the pattern of dissemination of languages that gain significant market penetration.

Happy vacation

Though, if you were having trouble with the LtU audience participation, I think having the map go to the #1 story on reddit will make it even more difficult to limit the discussion to major programming languages.


- Twelf (CMU)
- Dylan, AppleScript, NewtonScript (Apple)

Forth, APL

Forth was born in Kitt Peak, Arizona, although there were precursors elsewhere. APL was also born at IBM. Actually, the IBM languages were born not all that far away from the IBM World Headquarters.

OCaml, Erland and Haskell are "industrial", and where is Algol?

Where is Algol? And OCaml, Erlang and Haskell most cetainly have "industrial" market share.

Major players?

Not really. The criterion was not industrial sue but languages that are dominant, that is have significant market share. I know it is hard to understand, but this is not a value judgment.


I did not want this to turn in to a religious war type of discussion, nor to troll LtU. I expected too much, I guess. I apologize for involving the LtU readership in this thread, which does not match neither the the spirit not the policies of LtU. I will attempt not lengthen this discussion thread anymore.

Thanks to all those who tried to help.

Cambridge Mathematics Laboratory

I've added two for Stracheyphiles, namely CPL & GPM, from the 1960s at Cambridge Mathematics Laboratory. I'm not quite sure, however, where exactly that is; based on the clue that the laboratory was housed in an old anatomy school, I'm guessing that it is in the area of the old Addenbrooks site on Trumpington Road. Better information will be gratefully received.