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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

A comparison of 650 programming methods

An evaluation of an automatic programming method can be made from many points of view. Two recent articles give evaluations of two compilers for the IBM 650 based on the method of decomposition of compiler statements into machine language [1, 2]. This paper briefly describes these two compilers, appraises them for the ease with which they can be used and for the efficiency of the programs they produce. While this approach is of less theoretical interest than the evaluations presented in the referenced articles, it is of substantially more practical significance to a programmer or to an installation which is seeking to answer the following questions: Should a compiler be used? If so, which compiler? It will be noted that no universal answers are possible since such factors as relative costs and availability of machine time and programmer time, the skill and predilections of programmers, and the type of problems are of major importance. Nevertheless, the results presented below, we believe, provide the best available guide for arriving at reasonable answers.

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