An analysis of the relative efficiency of various high level programming languages

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1975

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High level computer programming languages have been an important influence on computer science since their large-scale introduction in the early 1960’s. Their individual features have been widely analyzed as to how they relate to the use of the languages and how they are implemented in the compilers for the languages. Comparatively little work has been done on the analysis of how well high level languages are suited to be used for the solution of programming problems which differ from those problems for which the languages were designed to be used. Seldom has a single algorithm been programmed in various high level languages in order to analyze their relative efficiency. Trils thesis analyzes the relative efficiency of various high level programming languages, both in their use for the type of algorithm for which they were designed, and in other types of algorithms. It challenges the validity of the assertion that scientific programming languages are not appropriate for business applications and business programming languages are not suitable for scientific applications. The following questions are answered based on the analysis of the results of eight experiments which involve programming a wide range of different algorithms iv using primarily three high level languages and seven compilers. How does COBOL compare as a computational language? How does FORTRAN compare to ALGOL in their processing times? How good or bad is FORTRAN as an information processing language? How does FORTRAN compare to COBOL for report formatting?

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