The Origins of GENESYS, the General Engineering System (Part 2)

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Computer Conservation Society

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Brian Shearing

Last November’s talk about GENESYS, the GENeral Engineering SYStem commissioned by the Ministry of Public Building and Works in 1968, ended with the contract let and a team with experience of two prototypes ready to start work.

The second half of the talk explains the building of the system. It compares methods for constructing a substantial piece of software in 1970 with techniques available today. The talk also attempts to position GENTRAN, the language at the heart of the system, in the historical context of the evolution of programming languages.


14:00 – Login and networking

14:30 Main presentation, Q&A and networking

17:00 – Close

This webinar will be hosted on Zoom


The first program Brian wrote was for a Ferranti Sirius computer in 1961, and he has never quite got over the excitement. His primary interests have always been compilers and operating systems, and he has written several of each.

The compiler for GENTRAN, the programming language at the heart of GENESYS, was his first or as will become clear during the seminar, his first and second. His latest is for a novel concurrent programming language, still under development.

As a software design consultant he has worked on trading systems, medical systems, and programs for highway design. He has lectured in Europe and the Americas, has had twelve papers published, and was on the Editorial Board of the John Wiley Journal, Software Practice and Experience for more than twenty years. He has given many talks to BCS branches, specialist groups and conferences, was Chairman of the Fortran Specialist Group for three years, has served on the Society's Technical Board, has represented it on BSI Programming Languages Committee IST/13, and was a member of the programme committee of the Advanced Programming Specialist Group for seven years.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event, please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters.


Computer Conservation Society

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