IBSYS Fortran II runs on a SIMH-based simulator

An upcoming release of Bob Supnik’s SIMH (Computer History Simulation system) will include IBM 704/709/7090/7094 simulation provided by Rich Cornwell. Rich has been very busy lately: implementing and debugging the simulations of the CPU, channels, controllers, and devices; tracking down and transcribing source code for diagnostics; and figuring out how to rebuild and run various diagnostics, SHARE, IBSYS, and CTSS code. He’s had great luck with the IBSYS distribution from Paul Pierce; in particular, he was able to get the code compiled by the Fortran II compiler to execute. It turns out the Fortran II compiler writes out intermediate files to tape as individual records not followed by the customary tape mark; it was necessary to tweak the simulator to handle this the way the original hardware did. Rich notes that Bob Supnik, who is also working on a 7094 simulator, was the first person to discover this. (Rich says Bob will include both Rich’s and his own 7xxx simulators in SIMH since Bob’s is specifically optimized for running CTSS while Rich’s is aimed more toward IBSYS and older 704/709 software.)

Rich’s enthusiasm inspired me to finally obtain a copy of the Smithsonian’s Fortran II listing — this is a version for the IBM 704, which does not have I/O channel — it is the machine for which the original Fortran I compiler was written. Rich is in the process of recreating the assembly language source code from which this listing was generated. He’s doing this by hand, because the quality of OCR is not high enough.

Rich has many related projects in mind, and welcomes others who would like to join in: transcribing/proofreading diagnostics and the 704 Fortran II listing, working on some remaining IBSYS language processors, getting the Lisp 1.5 interpreter to run, etc. His home page (yes, kites!) includes his email address, or contact me and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Update 1/2/2016: Updated contact information for Rich Cornwell.

Brad Parker resurrects MIT CADR Lisp Machine source code

Brad Parker recently announced:

After a long and interesting search I uncovered a set of 9-track tapes which appear to be a snapshot of the MIT CADR Lisp machine source code from around 1980. This is not the final source code and not the last source release I will make. It is, however, the first source release.

Tom Knight and others at MIT helped me secure permission from MIT’s Patent office to release the software. I am indebted to him and the others for making this possible.

Follow the link above for a compressed tar file containing the tape images, extracted files, and extraction software, plus MIT’s license, a README, and a link to Brad’s CADR emulator.

(Via Bill Clementson via Lemonodor; see also Bill Hyde.)

I’ve added a link to Brad’s web page in the Zetalisp for Lisp Machines section of the History of LISP website at the Computer History Museum.

[Edited 10 May 2014: community.computerhistory.org/scc/projects/LISP/index.html#ZetaLisp_ => www.softwarepreservation.org/projects/LISP/maclisp_family/#ZetaLisp_ and URL for Bill Clementson’s blog.]

Stanford LISP 1.6; the original Standard LISP

Work on LISP spread from McCarthy’s original M.I.T. project to other projects at M.I.T. and then to other institutions as people moved on and word about the capabilities of the language spread. John Allen brought a snapshot of the M.I.T.’s PDP-6 LISP to Stanford where it evolved into Stanford LISP 1.6 through the work of Allen, Lynn Quam, and Whitfield Diffie.

At the recent International Lisp Conference, I gave a short presentation, and afterwards several LISP pioneers chatted with me. Lynn Quam volunteered to provide me with scanned copies of a number of historic documents concerning LISP 1.6: SAILON 28.1 (compare with MIT AIM-116a), SAILON 28.2, SAILON 28.3, and SAILON 28.6, as well as memos describing various library packages.

Lynn also provided a copy of Stanford AIM-90, the 1969 Standard LISP specification by Anthony Hearn. Hearn designed Standard LISP as an abstraction layer upon which his REDUCE computer algebra system was implemented. AIM-90 included a 5-page appendix of definitions to make Stanford’s LISP/360 conform to Standard Lisp. (The later Portable Standard LISP project was a from-scratch implementation.)

[Edited 10 May 2014: community.computerhistory.org/scc = www.softwarepreservation.org, etc.]

Classic LISP books online

With the permission of The MIT Press, I have posted online copies of two classic LISP books on the History of Lisp website at the Computer History Museum:

  • John McCarthy, Paul W. Abrahams, Daniel J. Edwards, Timothy P. Hart and Michael I. Levin. LISP 1.5 Programmer’s Manual. The M.I.T. Press, 1962, second edition. PDF
  • Berkeley and Bobrow, editors. The Programming Language LISP: Its Operation and Applications. Information International, Inc., March 1964 and The MIT Press, April 1966. PDF

In addition to these I have continued to track down information about more versions of LISP, so the web site keeps growing.

I also gave a brief announcement of this project at the recent International Lisp Conference 2005, and a number of people volunteered to help me track down more information.

If I’ve neglected your favorite version of LISP, please go through your closet or basement and find those manuals, listings, mag tapes, etc.

[Edited 10 May 2014: community.computerhistory.org/scc => www.softwarepreservation.org, etc.]

Pascal Bourguignon recreates machine-readable source for LISP 1.5

Pascal Bourguignon encountered this item on my History of LISP web site:

  • LISP system assembly listing. “FIELD TEST ASSEMBLY OF LISP 1.5 SEPTEMBER 1961”, labeled “Bonnie’s Birthday Assembly”. M.I.T. Museum, donated by Timothy P. Hart and scanned by Jack Harper. PDF (16MB)

and promptly began reconstructing machine-readable source. This morning he announced on comp.lang.lisp his progress (he’s typed in the source, patched it and Dave Pitts’ assembler to nearly recreate the listing, and is close to running it on the emulator). As he says in a README file of his distribution:

This card deck can be assembled with asm7090-2.1.4 applying the small patch ‘asm7090.patch’ to get a listing as identical as possible. asm7090 prints ‘0’ in the generated words for symbols under different headers, so we cannot make a complete word-for-word comparison of the generated code from the listing, until we modify asm7090 in this respect.

The objective is to recover a perforation for performation image of the Source. The same columns, the same typoes should be reproduced.

If you’d like to help Pascal find the remaining errors, or have the LISP 1.5 compiler sources or LISP 1.5 application sources, you can contact Pascal at the email address in the above-mentioned README file. Please also send me email or post a comment to this entry!

[Edited 10 May 2014: community.computerhistory.org/scc => www.softwarepreservation.org, etc.; 2 Jan 2016: http://groups-beta.google.com/group/comp.lang.lisp/browse_frm/thread/67b1cabdf271870c => https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.lang.lisp/Z7HKvfJxhww]

Archiving LISP history

Based on the progress I’ve made with FORTRAN, I decided to start another effort at the Computer History Museum to track down source code and documents for the original M.I.T. LISP I/1.5 project. I have made some progress, and am assembling a LISP web site at the Museum to organize and present the materials I’ve collected so far, including:

  • LISP 1.5: Assembly listing for IBM 709/7090 standalone system, and also CTSS port. Information about various other ports and reimplementations including Univac M-460, Q-32, Univac 1108.
  • PDP-1 Lisp: links to the documentation, source code and simulators
  • MacLisp (PDP-6, PDP-10): links to documentatation and source code
  • BBN-LISP: the manual for the original PDP-1 version and the Tenex version (coming soon: preliminary specifications for the 940 version)
  • and many more.

As always, your comments are welcome. What am I missing? What facts have I gotten wrong? Please help fill in the gaps.

[Edited 10 May 2014: community.computerhistory.org/scc => www.softwarepreservation.org.]