• Jan 1, 1900
    (b.) - ?

Bio/Description

In 1959 Martin Richards came to Cambridge to read Mathematics, followed by the Diploma in Numerical Analysis and Automatic Computing and three years of research, obtaining his PhD in December 1966. The PhD research was done under the successive supervision of David Barron, David Park and Christopher Strachey. It concerned the design and implementation of CPL, an ambitious programming language influenced by the recent development of ALGOL. CPL was designed jointly by teams at both Cambridge and London Universities. The implementation at Cambridge was developed by research students between 1962 and 1966. During this period the compiler had to transferred from EDSAC 2 to an Atlas Computer and this sparked Martin Richards’s interest in the portability of compilers and systems software. The Cambridge CPL compiler was implemented in a tiny subset of itself which was then laboriously translated by hand into macro calls using the GPM macrogenerator designed by Christopher Strachey specifically for the purpose. This subset of CPL was formalised and extended by Martin Richards when he took up an appointment at MIT in December 1966. This resulted in the first implementation of BCPL in early 1967. Because of its simplicity and the portability of its compiler, it was used in many institutions and companies around the world, including Strachey’s Programming Research Group in Oxford and Xerox PARC in Palo Alto. Ken Thompson designed an even simpler language based on it, called B, which was later extended to become C.