Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Algol-60, BNF, and Lisp

Author:Will Fitzgerald
Posted:8/30/1999; 5:48:04 AM
Topic:Today's scriptingNews Outline
Msg #:10215 (In response to 10199)
Prev/Next:10214 / 10216

According to my old "Introduction to Compiler Construction with Unix" book, BNF form was introduced in the Algol-60 report. BNF, of course, is an acronym for "Backus-Naur Form" (Backus and Naur are two of the authors of the Algol-60 report, and Naur is listed as the editor).

John McCarthy was the inventor of the Lisp programming language. His site contains several papers and references to the early history of Lisp, including the "original paper on Lisp", Recursive Functions of Symbolic Expressions and their Computation by Machine (Part I), which contains a formal (but not BNF) specification for Lisp.

The Algol-60 paper came out in 1963; McCarthy's paper is from 1960. Both were in the Communications of the ACM.

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