QUARTERLY REPORT Lou Burnard Applications Programmer January 1st - March 31st 1979

2900 Software

About six weeks were spent producing a new 10 system for Kent's 2900 Snobol interpreter, which involved some tinkering with the goodies SIMPLEIO module and much pestering of those (not a few) who know more S3 than I do. The new 10 system can halve the execution time of IO-bound programs, largely because the old version used FORTRAN for all IO. Thorough testing of the interpreter revealed two or three bugs which were reported to Kent. New documentation for 2900 Snobol was written and then ROFFed.

An Algol 68/GHOST interface was written and appeared to work.

Work on OXMTREAD continued. Facilities for reading 7-track tapes and tapes written with Fortran formatted writes were added.


The Wytham database went operational in March, after some extensive tuning and recoding, following consultations with ICL. Fifteen years worth of private life of Parus Major was loaded into a 10 megabyte database over one week in February and I wrote a short report on the experience.

I discussed a new project, to do with Roman burial sites, with two people from the External Studies Dept., and designed a schema for them.

I chaired two meetings of the Fortran Users DMUG sub-group here, at which ERCC unveiled plans for the new improved FISS product, and various proposals for enhancements (chiefly in the area of usability) were discussed. FISS is apparently still only being used by ourselves, ERCC and British Aerospace, (Liverpool will have the 1900 version shortly), though copies have been sold to various other ICL customers. A valuable side effect of all this was that we now have a pre-pre-release of FISS FI120, which allows Fortran access to IDMSX, the extended version of IDMS with many more bells, whistles and coloured streamers. This is the version which the Assize Court database will use. I wrote and tested an IDMSX schema for the latter at the end of March.


Plans to obtain Websters Dictionary were knocked on the head by a point blank refusal from the publishers; prospects of obtaining the new A.L.D. however look much more promising. The last of the Howard-Hill Shakespeare tapes arrived at the beginning of March, closely followed by the man himself. OUP are interested in using the texts as the basis of a new edition, and will be correspondingly helpful when it comes to giving us copies of other texts, we hope. I did some preliminary work on reĀ­formatting the Shakespeare texts using 2900 Snobol, and discovered that the folio text of Julius Caesar appears to have been mislaid. Richard Sabido (OUP) handed over three tapes, one of which was unreadable (they couldn't read it either), the other two being the OUP General Catalogue and the African Encyclopaedia. These are readable on the 1906A but not yet on the 2980. Susan's indefatigable girls continued to plod through some minor English classics for me, completing Wordworth's Lyrical Ballads and Akenside's Pleasures of the Imagination in a record two weeks. We received a new copy of the Gill Corpus from the University of Warwick, which has aroused the interest of a lexicographer working for Heinemanns. Enquiries about texts were received from the USA, Holland, Germany and Newcastle; a sampler tape was issued to the Tyneside Linguistic Survey.

1900 Software

Birmingham uncovered one bug and suggested one enhancement in Famulus, both of which were acted upon. New versions of the package and documentation were released to various places, including the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the D.E.S. Aston reported a gross error in Oxeye, which was corrected; new version released to Aston and to Nottingham.

Any Other Business

I re-joined the DMUG End User Facility Sub-Group: a dedicated band which plans to define a really usable interface to IDMS for ICL to implement, by the end of 1979, (see visit reports). I submitted a paper on our experience using IDMS to ICCH/4, which was accepted, and wrote a second article on Snobol for publication in the ALLC Bulletin.