Algol W [was: Microsoft open sources GWBASIC]

Paul McJones paul at
Wed May 27 14:32:39 CDT 2020

> On May 26, 2020, Al Kossow <aek at> wrote:
> On 5/26/20 6:39 PM, Al Kossow via cctalk wrote:
>>> Algol W was from Eroupe?
>> Algol W was from Stanford, written by Wirth when he was there
> Actually, by Dick Sites
> <>

Dick must have done a lot of work on that version, but an earlier manual by Henry R. Bauer, Sheldon Becker, and Susan L . Graham says:

The project was initiated and directed by Professor Niklaus Wirth, who proposed many of the ideas incorporated in the compiler and suggested ways to bring them about. Joseph W. Wells, Jr. and Edwin H. Satterthwaite, Jr. wrote the PL/360 System in which the compiler is embedded, the linkages to the compiler, and the loader. Although the authors did the bulk of the programming for the compiler, valuable contributions were made by Larry L, Bumgarner, Jean-Paul Rossiensky, Joyce B. Keckler, Patricia V. Koenig, John Perine, and Elizabeth Fong.

And Ed Satthertwaite wrote a source-level debugger for the system. More on Algol W here:

and more on the designs that led up to it here (search for the names Wirth and Hoare):

in particular:

N. Wirth and C. A. R. Hoare. A contribution to the development of ALGOL. Communications of the ACM, Volume 9, Number 6 (June 1966), pages 413-432. ACM Digital Library <>
"Euler caught the attention of the IFIP Working Group that was engaged in planning the future of ALGOL. The language ALGOL 60, designed by and for numerical mathematicians, had a systematic structure and a concise definition that were appreciated by mathematically trained people but lacked compilers and support by industry. To gain acceptance, its range of application had to be widened. The Working Group assumed the task of proposing a successor and soon split into two camps. On one side were the ambitious who wanted to erect another milestone in language design, and, on the other, those who felt that time was pressing and that an adequately extended ALGOL 60 would be a productive endeavor. I belonged to this second party and submitted a proposal that lost the election. Thereafter, the proposal was improved with contributions from Tony Hoare (a member of the same group) and implemented on Stanford University's first IBM 360. The language later became known as ALGOL W and was used in several universities for teaching purposes." [Wirth 1985 <>] 

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