Algol 68: Informal Introduction and more

Cover of Informal Introduction to Algol 68Several years ago I began an archival collection for the Algol family of programming languages: Algol 58 (originally known as the International Algorithmic Language), Algol 60, and Algol 68. I began looking for implementations of Algol 58 and Algol 60. Since then I’ve also found information (including, in some cases, source code), for many Algol 68 implementations.

I’d like to announce the return of a very useful Algol 68 resource: a scanned copy of Informal Introduction to Algol 68, posted by permission of coauthor Charles H. Lindsey and copyright holder IFIP. This is the revised 1980 reprint of the second (“completely revised”) edition of 1977. For convenience, I’ve also posted separate files containing the large fold-out Table of Contents and the appendix of Syntax Charts.

This book, together with Marcel van der Veer’s modern Algol 68 Genie implementation and the extensive documentation accompanying it (including a hypertext version of the Revised Report) provide an excellent way to study Algol 68.

In addition to the above-mentioned, a number of other people have contributed to the overall Algol archive project. I’d like to single out Neville Dempsey for his dedication to spreading knowledge of and appreciation for Algol 68.

6 thoughts on “Algol 68: Informal Introduction and more”

  1. I followed the link for Informal Introduction to Algol 68 and found it gave me a web
    page containing references to Algol 68, but not the book. Please would you check this
    anchor and ensure that the book is really available?

    Fortunately, I have my own personal copy dating from 1978!

    Have you mentioned my port of the Algol 68 RS compiler in the ELLA package to

    I shall be uploading a debugged version of algol68toc_1.18_i386.deb to my
    web-site. One of the utilities supplied (rs) does not handle stand in properly, but
    the debugged version does. The new version should be available later today.

  2. Dear Dr. Mountbatten,

    The link should take you to the very end of this web page: (scroll down to the end if necessary). There you should find links to the full book, the table of contents, and the syntax charts.

    The listings for Algol68RS are on this page: (you’ll have to scroll — I didn’t add anchors for the various implementations). There I provide links to an ELLA release at NYU and a Linux port of algol68toC by Dr. Sian Leitch. Is that by any chance you?


  3. Yes, I was Dr Sian Leitch. I changed my surname when I discovered that the man named
    on my birth certificate was not my father. I had discovered incontrovertible evidence
    that my father was Lord Louis Mountbatten.

  4. It’s worth pointing out that the language in the Algol 68 Report and the one in the Revised Report are not the same. The original (green cover) Informal Introduction goes with the original Report; the edition you have here (red cover) describes the language of the Revised report.
    Section 0.3 in the Revised Report describes the changes made between the two editions of Algol 68. There are some differences in how the language is described as well; RR section 0.4 spells those out.

  5. You may be interested to learn that I have been working on Dr. Mountbatten’s port of a68toc and have made some bug fixes, resolved machine dependencies for endianness and word size, and ported it further. I started with her 1.15 version for 32-bit Intel Linux and I now have a version running on 32-bit and 64-bit Linux for both Intel and ARM processors. It also runs on 64-bit macOS.

    I’d like to know if anyone has any version later than 1.15? I know Dr Mountbatten had a 1.19 on her website, now defunct, as is her e-mail. I fear she is no longer with us, but I’d like to help ensure her work and those at RSRE is preserved in a working fashion (as opposed to simply a source code archive).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.