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hpr3343 :: The Forth programming language

A less than complete history of Forth

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Hosted by Brian in Ohio on 2021-05-26 is flagged as Clean and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Tags: programming, history.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. | Comments (2)


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Comment #1 posted on 2021-06-02T17:42:34Z by cagey

My experience with Forth (at SAO)

Interesting show! I was a grad student in Arizona working with the gamma-ray group at SAO's Whipple Observatory (just south of Tucson). My first task was to develop a tracking system for the 10m Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope. We used Forth running on a Z-80 daughter board hosted by an Apple II. This same hardware was used to control a 24" telescope. That system was developed by a fellow who had worked for SAO's Satellite Tracking Program. In fact, several other staff members at Whipple had traveled the planet installing, operating and maintaining the Baker-Nunn cameras used to photograph satellites and determine their orbital elements.

The amusing thing is that a couple of years after I graduated they replaced the Apple II with a PC and tried to reverse engineer the Forth code. Given that the tracking code wasn't all that complicated this was sheer insanity. My experience with Forth is that even your own code became rapidly inscrutable. Probably a reflection of my coding acumen at the time rather than Forth intself.

Comment #2 posted on 2021-06-06T09:21:20Z by Dave Morriss

What does SAO stand for?

I did a bit of searching and found that SAO = Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

There's a Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smithsonian_Astrophysical_Observatory

The comment from cagey is a show all in its own right! I'd love to hear more about life as a grad student doing this kind of stuff :-)

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