Burroughs Large Systems - ALGOL


The Burroughs large systems implement an ALGOL-derived stack architecture, unlike linear architectures such as PDP-11, Motorola M68k, and Itanium or segmented architectures such as x86 and Texas Instruments. (This refers to the layout of the memory and how a program uses it.)

While B5000 was designed specifically around ALGOL, this was only a starting point. Other business-oriented languages such as COBOL were also well supported, most notably by the powerful string operators which were included for the development of fast compilers.

The ALGOL used on the B5000 is an extended ALGOL subset. It includes powerful string manipulation instructions but excludes certain ALGOL constructs, notably unspecified formal parameters. A DEFINE mechanism serves a similar purpose to the #defines found in C, but is fully integrated into the language rather than being a preprocessor. The EVENT data type facilitates coordination between processes, and ON FAULT blocks enable handling program faults.

The user level of ALGOL does not include many of the insecure constructs needed by the operating system and other system software. Two levels of language extensions provide the additional constructs: ESPOL and NEWP for writing the MCP and closely related software, and DCALGOL and DMALGOL to provide more specific extensions for specific kinds of system software.

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