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Plankalkül (wikipedia.org)
56 points by vmorgulis on Jan 15, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments

The wikipedia page sadly doesn't show the original, 2D structured notation:

http://www.catb.org/retro/plankalkuel/figure3.png (found with other info onhttp://www.catb.org/retro/plankalkuel/)

I had wondered what that would look like. It is even more confusing than I had imagined.

Syntax and historical merit aside, I think this is one of the coolest names for a programming language ever.

Technical/mathematical German has - to me as a native German speaker, at least - a sound to it that is somehow ... neither cool nor uncool, actually, it somehow transcends the entire concept.

Kalkül is the word for calculus used by Leibniz. So that Plankalkül is a calculus for plans.

the code example for finding a maximum of three numbers is a bit complex. I mean you can do shorter in assembly

I've always supposed it's a plan for calculus. It seems to me to make more sense that way round.

I took it to mean "a calculus for planning" in the GOFAI sense of "planning".

I don't think Zuse had AI in mind at the time. The planning would have to be done by the programmer.

This also fits in better with the fact he invented (or at least envisioned) a "Planfertigungsgerät" (plan preparation device) to convert the "Plan" from human-readable notation into something the computer could run (effectively, a compiler).

Slightly related is a kick-scooter that goes by the same name. Made by the hacker MechBern who is also part of the Bodenstaendig 2000 band. Together they produced a great song and promotion video for the Plankalkül scooter called Extreme Einkaufing: http://www.bodenstaendig.de/plankalkul/video-en.html http://www.bodenstandig.de/media/extreme%20einkaufing%20352x...

There's part of me half expecting some HN'er to pop up and tell stories about cutting their teeth on a Plankalkül code base as a young whipper-snapper.

Followed by a link to a Plankalkül web framework on GitHub.

...and an incomplete js transpiler (), and a heated discussion about how exactly the TIOBE index is unfairly skewed against plankalkül.

( implemented by comparing the provided source against any plankalkül implementations that might exist on http://www.99-bottles-of-beer.net/ and emits the highest rated js implementation if it matches, undefined otherwise)

Here is a paper that describe the Plankalkül in more detail.

* R. Rojas, C. Göktekin, G. Friedland, M. Krüger, Plankalkül: The First High-Level Programming Language and its Implementation. ftp://ftp.mi.fu-berlin.de/pub/reports/TR-B-00-03.pdf

The Second World War stopped a lot of good things. One of them was Konrad Zuse.

Ah, German. Such a beautiful language.

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