Research and Advances

Homilies for humble standards

At every standards meeting, in clear view on the table there should be a small plaque engraved: “Do it once, do it right, do it internationally.” The many contributions of Douglas Ross exemplify this directive. If, for example, you look at the ASCII standard, ANSI-X3.4-1968, you will find that D.T. Ross represented ACM on the ANSI X3 Committee at that time. This paper is part of an argument that well-founded standards go hand in hand with an effective systems methodology. When first submitted for refereeing, “Homilies for Humble Standards” was oriented toward Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) applications. As it is now published, the context is elevated to consider all applications. In a similar manner, we can broaden the scope to show that it is the concern of all ACM members. Manufacturing is the application of tools and processes on materials to create a product. Languages are our tools; algorithms and procedures are our processes; data is our material. The product is an enhancement of the power and span of control of the customer. I commend this paper for your reading as one of the relatively few in ACM publications which tell why ACM and its members should be “involved”; it discusses an unsolved problem, rather than a solution looking for a problem.


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Research and Advances

The AED free storage package

The most fundamental underlying problem in sophisticated software systems involving elaborate, changing data structure is dynamic storage allocation for flexible problem modeling. The Free Storage Package of the AED-1 Compiler System allows blocks of available storage to be obtained and returned for reuse. The total available space is partitioned into a hierarchy of free storage zones, each of which has its own characteristics. Blocks may be of any size, and special provisions allow efficient handling of selected sizes, control of shattering and garbage collection, and sharing of physical space between zones. The routines of the package perform high level functions automatically, but also allow access and control of fine internal details as well.
Research and Advances

On context and ambiguity in parsing

This note is by way of commentary on the notions of “bounded context” of Floyd [1] and “structural connections” of Irons [2], as these notions relate to as yet unpublished researches growing out of the development of the author's Algorithmic Theory of Language [3, 4]. In the closing paragraphs of [3], the author made comments concerning further developments of the theory which would include “context dependence” and “resolution of apparent syntactic ambiguities.” The work on parsing reported here was carried out in early September, 1962 (an earlier version in March, 1962), but has not been polished or reduced to final form because, for the purpose of the total theory, parsing should not be considered separately, and the complexities of the proper treatment of the “precedence string” (which relates to semantic structure as distinct from syntactic structure of parsing) have not yet been satisfactorily resolved.
Research and Advances

Computer-aided design

This project is engaged in (a) a program of research into the application of the concepts and techniques of modern data processing to the design of mechanical parts, and (b) the further development of automatic programming systems for numerically controlled machine tools. The project is a cooperative venture between the Computer Applications Group of the Electronic Systems Laboratory and the Design and Graphics Division of the Mechanical Engineering Department, and is sponsored by the Manufacturing Methods Division of the USAF Air Material Command through Contract AF-33(600)-40604.

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