GEDANKEN is an experimental programming language with the following characteristics. (1) Any value which is permitted in some context of the language is permissible in any other meaningful context. In particular, functions and labels are permissible results of functions and values of variables. (2) Assignment and indirect addressing are formalized by introducing values, called references, which in turn possess other values. The assignment operation always affects the relation between some reference and its value. (3) All compound data structures are treated as functions. (4) Type declarations are not permitted.
The functional approach to data structures and the use of references insure that any process which accepts some data structure will accept any logically equivalent structure, regardless of its internal representation. More generally, any data structure may be implicit; i.e. it may be specified by giving an arbitrary algorithm for computing or accessing its components. The existence of label variables permits the construction of co-routines, quasi-parallel processes, and other unorthodox control mechanisms.
A variety of programming examples illustrates the generality of the language. Limitations and possible extensions are discussed briefly.
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