Phil Abrams

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Philip Samuel Abrams is an APL implementer who worked on IVSYS/7090, APL\1130, and APL\3000. He is a co-founder of STSC and was briefly chairman of SIGAPL.

Abrams graduated Princeton with an A.B. in mathematics in 1964 and entered Stanford, where he would earn an M.S. degree in computer science in 1966 and Ph.D. in 1970. There he worked with Larry Breed, of IBM's Watson Research Center, to create a FORTRAN implementation of Iverson notation on an IBM 7090 mainframe, which Abrams submitted as a course project supervised by Niklaus Wirth.[1] The implementation, completed in 1965 and later known as IVSYS/7090, is considered the first APL implementation (although PAT was a previous system based on Iverson notation).[2][3] Breed and Abrams then implemented APL\1130 based on a simple interpreter Abrams had written for the "Elsie" machine. The system was made to run on an IBM 1130 with an emulator in 1967, and released in 1968.[4]

Abrams was a co-founder of STSC in 1969, and was a vice president as of 1979.[5] With Breed, he helped to develop the APL\3000 compiler, which featured optimizations based on his subscript calculus. Additionally, he helped organize Colloque APL,[6] and was elected chairman of SIGAPL (then STAPL) in 1977, retaining the role until Eugene McDonnell was chosen in the next election in 1979.[7] He received the Iverson Award in 1991.


External links


  1. An interpreter for Iverson notation
  2. Eugene McDonnell. The Socio-Technical Beginnings of APL.
  3. Adin Falkoff and Ken Iverson. The Design of APL. IBM Journal of Research and Development, Volume 17, Number 4. 1973-07.
  4. Larry Breed. How We Got To APL\1130. Vector journal vol. 22 no. 3. 2006-08.
  5. Phil Abrams and John W. Myrna. "Automatic control of execution: An overview" at APL79.
  6. Phil Abrams and Larry Breed. "Colloque APL: Paris, September 1971". APL Quote-Quad Volume 3, Number 4. 1972-02-10.
  7. Garth Foster. "The APL user community - its roots" at IPSA '80.

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