APL BUG 12 Oct. 2020: Gavin Scott, APL\3000

The APL Bay Area Users' Group, The Northern California APL ACM Chapter, met on the 12th of October to hear Gavin Scott tell about APL\3000 for the HP 3000 minicomputer.

Monday, 12 October 2020, 10 a.m. PDT

About APL\3000

Started as a project at HP Labs in Palo Alto CA at the beginning of the 1970s, APL\3000 was an ambitious implementation that sought to match the functionality of IBM's mainframe APL SV product on a 16-bit minicomputer. It offered a number of firsts, such as the first APL compiler (and a byte-code virtual machine to execute the compiled code), a unique 32-bit Virtual Memory system that used custom CPU microcode to offer APL workspaces limited in size only by available disk space, and APLGOL, an APL variant language that allowed the use of Structured Programming style flow control rather than APL's pure "goto" style.

This talk will introduce the classic 1970s HP 3000 along with APL\3000, discuss the development and marketing of APL on the HP 3000, and how it was ultimately unsuccessful in the marketplace, and then talk about the process of resurrecting it 35 years later and provide a demonstration running on an emulated HP 3000 circa 1980.

About Gavin

Gavin Scott saw his first HP 3000 minicomputer in 1980 while he was still in high school and then spent the next 40 years or so in a career that mostly revolved around software development for the HP 3000 and its successors. His first exposure to APL was on a Xerox Sigma 7 at the University of California at Irvine in the late 1970s. Now retired, his interests include the history of computing and collecting/curating historical computer software using simulated hardware. This summer he worked to bring back to life the 1976 APL\3000 system that ran on the HP 3000 in those days, as well as an emulation of the HP 2641A APL Display Station terminal that went with it.


News From August

The APL BUG received word that there are people trying to get APL\3000 up and running on a simulated Classic HP 3000 and were looking for the HP APL\3000 Reference Manual. Thanks to Al Kossow, The Computer History Museum and Bitsavers! Here is a PDF of the original reference manual.


Nearly every Thursday at 8 a.m. PDT either the British APL Association or Dyalog has a meeting or webinar; the upcoming dates are here. //