Publication details

Algoritmy, jazyky, programování a matematika

Title in English Algorithms, languages, programming and mathematics


Year of publication 2013
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description From today's perspective, it seems only natural and correct to call programming language a language. There are undoubtedly many parallels between natural and programming languages, especially the statement that some things are better expressed in one language, other things in another. For programming languages, the saying "the more languages you know, the broader is your perspective" could perhaps also be used in some version. However, programming languages also have features that can be related to natural language characteristics only with difficulty. For programming languages, it is for example often assumed that a good programming language will teach the programmer good thinking. Is that true, though? Is it really so that an algorithm formulated in a suitable programming language must be better than an algorithm formulated in colloquial language? The best algorithm for finding the minimum spanning tree was discovers by Otakar Borůvk (1899-1995) in 1926, when he could not use any programming language. Algorithms written in a programming language can be more easily compared, but translating them to a unified language can also be difficult and in addition, the result need not always be the same. The problem of language and translating is intertwined with history of programming languages: what are we actually translating? Which part of the translating can be mechanized? And is programming in the sense of translating numerical (or, in general, mathematical) methods as easy as it seems? I will try to answer these and other questions when relating the history of ALGOL 60, the algorithmic language, the language that was designed with the aim to share programs.

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