ISO/ IEC JTC1/SC22 N3964


Programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces

Secretariat:  U.S.A.  (ANSI)


ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC22 N3964



SC 22/WG 3 Business Plan/Convener's Report 






SC 22/WG 4 Convenor (L. Dickey)





Other document (Open)





This document is circulated for information and review.  It will be
discussed at the 29 September-2 October 2005 SC 22 Plenary Meeting under
agenda item 8.1.  This document is located at:   

















Sally Seitz


25 West 43rd Street

New York, NY  10036

Telephone:  (212) 642-4918

Fax:             (212) 840-2298

Email: <> 


______________end of cover page, beginning of document_________

WG3 Business Plan and Convener's Report to the ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22 2003


Period covered by this report:  August 2004 to August 2005.


Date of preparation:  August, 2005


Submitted by:


        Prof. Leroy J Dickey

        Convener, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 22/WG 3


        Faculty of Mathematics

        University of Waterloo

        Waterloo, Ontario

        Canada  N2L 3G1




0.    Outline

      1. Summary

      2. Period Review

      3. Focus for the next work period 

      4. Other Items

      5. Successes


------------------------- -------------------------

1.      SUMMARY


1.1     JTC1/SC22/WG-3 Statement of Scope


        Development and maintenance of ISO/IEC Standards 

        related to programming language APL


1.2     Project Report


1.2.1   Completed Projects


        JTC  Programming Language APL, ISO/IEC 8485:1989 

        JTC  Programming Language Extended APL, IS 13751   


1.2.2   Projects Underway





1.2.3   Canceled Projects


        JTC   Character Repertoire for APL

        JTC   Character Repertoire for Extended APL 


      Final copy was delivered in PDF format.  

      Work was suspended when contact with the

      Editorial office was lost.


1.3     Cooperation and Competition


        There are no competing standards for APL.  The 

        international standards 8485 and 13751 stand out

        as the primary references for APL implementers.


        The Unicode Consortium kindly granted use of graphic

        images which we have included with the APL Character





2.1     Market Requirements


      APL is a general purpose computing language that continues to

      excel at applications that benefit by the organization of data

      in large arrays and has found users in a wide range of

      applications involving financial, actuarial, manufacturing, and

      management.  The growth area is coming from areas that demand 

      higher performance and these needs are being met, largely by

      faster hardware, but also by leaner implementations.


      Outside the insurance industry, one of the major groups of

      users is in the management and use of large financial data

      sets.  Stock trading history is a good example.  Both APL and

      some of its derivatives are highly successful in this area.

      More on this in the Recent Successes section.


        APL is still in use by one of the worlds largest airlines.

      The main use is to optimize its schedules.  The continued 

      success in this area shows how well the language scales 

      up to the problems it is used to solve.


      In previous years we have reported the success of APL

      in a major trading house.  The big news his year

      is with another house doing arbitrage with currency futures.

      It is well documented that when a price moves outse


      K and Kdb are still smashing successes with users of

      the largest data sets.  These highly

        specialized tools are little known, outside their

        sphere of application, but because of their focus, are

      miles ahead of the competition.


        The most amazing industry practice known to me is the

      APL user whose client requires that their software be

      delivered in

        the programming language Ada.  Because of the advantages

        of offered by modeling in APL, development is done in

        the higher level language and translated to Ada for

        before delivery.


2.2     Achievements


        The APL Working Group is proud to report that the



        JTC   Programming Language APL

        JTC   Programming Language Extended APL


        have resulted in high quality works that stand out as

        the primary authority for APL implementors and

        programmers.  Likewise, the suspended project(s)


        JTC   Character Repertoire for APL

        JTC   Character Repertoire for Extended APL


      made a positive impact on the APL community, and have

      been adopted by IBM and other vendors, even though

      the Geneva office was unable to work with the PDF 




2.3     Resources


      Since Berlin 2000, the APL working group has not met

      face to face.  For most APL experts, the exciting part

      of the standards work is over because the interesting

      technical decisions have been made.  Examples of these

      are the brilliant specialized functions such as "fuzzy

      floor", and ever useful "domino" functions for

      instance, which played a major role in ISO 8485 and the

      more recently introduced items in IS 13751, such as (i)

      the rank operator for arrays, (ii) the box and enclose

      functions and (iii) the representation of complex

      numbers and the all important value of (-1) raised to

      the power (n/k), where n and k are positive integers.


        As a consequence we have experienced a decline in

        interest and participation.  Candidates for project

        editors are scarce.


3.      FOCUS for the NEXT WORK PERIOD 


3.1     Deliverables


        The final text of the APL Character Repertoire in HTML

        and PDF format is still available.


3.2     Strategies


3.2.1   Risks


      In adition to the phenomenon mentioned above in the

      second paragraph of section "2.3 Resources", a point of

      contention is that some of the world's leading APL

      experts, in some instances previously members of WG3,

      have suffered from barriers to official participation

      by their respective national bodies.  It is my view

      that qualified experts who volunteer their time should

      be encouraged rather than turned away for pecuniary



3.2.2   Opportunities


3.3     Work Program Priorities


3.3.1   First priority:  

      The editor for the APL Character Repertoire, is prepared

      to deliver again, if requested.


3.3.2   Second priority: 

        No other projects are in view.



        WG3, the APL Working Group, will continue into a

        maintenance mode for the two standards APL (8485) and

        APL Extended (13751) and will stand prepared to 

        provide interpretation and prepare corrigenda, as



4.      Other Items


4.1     Action Requests for WG3



        Renew ISO/IEC 8485, when it is time to do so.



        Renew IS 13751, when it is time to do so.



        New Project: Self Contained Array Specification


4.2     WG3 Meetings


        Currently by electronic mail


4.3     Most Recent face-to-face Meeting


        Berlin, 2000-07-23.


4.4     Future Meetings


        Future meetings will continue by electronic mail, at the

        least.  No face-to-face meetings are scheduled at this



5. Successes


      We take the view that our successes are those of the

      businesses that use our software.  The striking example

      referred to above is given here.


      In previous years we have reported the success of APL

      in a major trading house.  The big news his year is

      with another house doing currency arbitrage.  It is

      well understood that when a commodity price moves more

      than one standard deviation away from its moving

      average, it will quickly revert to the mean.


      It has been reported in "Vector", a poblication of the

      British Computer Society, that at Deutcshe Bank,

      London, one area they experience a turn-around in 600

      to 1000 milliseconds, and that 200 miliseconds of that

      time is needed just to receive the information on the

      latest transaction.  This places great demands on the

      system, to  calculate the moving average and standard

      deviation, and then, after a decision, to prepare the

      orders and ship them out.  It seems that now, the

      language to beat is Kdb, a lean and mean dialect of

      APL.  Users are are now looking at the second order

      effects caused by other slower traders, as the price

      overshoots in the opposite direction, as a place they

      can pick up another nibble.


      ----- end of convenor's report and business plan -----



Sally Seitz

Program Manager


25 West 43rd Street

New York, NY 10036

Phone: (212) 642-4918

Fax: (212) 840-2298


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