Fiftieth birthday of IFIP WG2.1
Posted: 2nd April 2012
Today, 2nd April 2012, is the fiftieth birthday of IFIP Working Group 2.1 on Algorithmic Languages and Calculi. The International Computation Centre in Rome organized a conference on Symbolic Languages in Data Processing at the end of March 1962. After the conference, on 2nd and 3rd April 1962, the authors of the Algol 60 Report present at the conference met "to correct known errors in, attempt to eliminate apparent ambiguities in, and otherwise clarify the Algol 60 Report"; this meeting resulted in the Revised Report on the Algorithmic Language Algol 60. The Algol 60 authors then handed over "responsibility for the development, specification, and refinement of the Algorithmic Language Algol" to a new working group to be formed under the auspices of IFIP, the International Federation for Information Processing. That group was IFIP Working Group 2.1, the first of many IFIP working groups, and the Rome meeting could be considered its zeroth meeting. The Group went on to design the extremely influential language Algol 68. It is still flourishing — although no longer working on Algol 68, it is still focussed on "algorithmic languages and calculi", that is, languages for expressing and reasoning about algorithmic concepts.