[Beowulf] "Code" vs. "Codes"

Jim Lux James.P.Lux at jpl.nasa.gov
Mon Mar 31 16:10:50 PDT 2008

At 01:36 PM 3/31/2008, Jon Forrest wrote:
>Sometime long ago I first heard the term "codes"
>used in the same way I would use the term
>"programs". For example, someone might have
>said "The codes from Berkeley were very tricky".
>The first time I heard this, I thought maybe
>this term came from someone who wasn't a native
>speaker of English, who was trying to pluralize
>the term "code". This often happens with
>words like "information" and "documentation".
>But, now I regularly hear native speakers
>of English using "codes" to mean "programs",
>especially in the scientific realm, such as
>what many of us deal with regularly.
>Does anybody know how this usage first came about?

It's quite old (in computer age), I think.  One sees references to 
various hydrodynamic codes (meaning things like numerical computation 
of Navier-Stokes, etc.) in reports from Los Alamos in the 
1950s.  Probably comes from the fact that "coders" did "coding" to 
implement various models and algorithms, and what would the process 
of coding produce but a code.


Some references:
at http://history.siam.org/articles.htm
one can find links to, e.g.

mentions that early implementations of RungeKutta methods were, for 
example, "implemented by Wheeler as code #27 for the ILLIAC 
I"  ILLIAC 1 became operational in 1952. (page 10 of the pdf) .. 
however, I'm not sure if they referred to them as codes then, or if 
that usage is from the author of the article.  One might want to get 
references 33,34, and 35 from that article (from 1950,51, 54, respectively)

There's also the transcript of an oral history by Cody, where he 
talks about the "Argonne Code Center", and the interviewer (Haigh) asks Cody:
Cody: ... The Argonne Code Center was a repository for nuclear codes, 
codes that had been written to perform nuclear computations, design 
of reactors, whatever.

Haigh: And code in this context basically means program?
Cody: Program, the complete program.


Accession Number : AD0842402
Title :   Comparison Between a Von Neumann-Richtmyer Hydrocode 
(AFWL's PUFF) and a Lax-Wendroff Hydrocode.
Descriptive Note : Technical rept. Aug 67-Aug 68,
Personal Author(s) : Hicks, Darrell ; Pelzl, Robert
Report Date : OCT 1968
There are 7 TR's in DTIC with dates before 1970 and the word 
hydrocode appearing somewhere.
The earliest one is from March 1967

Accession Number: AD0817429

Full Text (pdf) Availability:
         Size:   28 MB
         Handle / proxy 

Citation Status:

Theoretical calculations of the phenomenology of an atmospheric high- 
explosive detonation are presented. The charge was a 100-ton sphere 
(radius, 240.5cm) of TNT loading density, 1.56 gms/cc whose center 
was at an altitude of 646.405 meters. The ground, upon which the 
spherical charge rested, was 644 meters above sea level. The 
numerical calculations taken out to 6 seconds were performed on the 
CDC 6600 digital computer using SHELL2, a two-material (version of 
the SHELL-OIL code), two-dimensional pure Eulerian hydrodynamic code. 
Air and the detonation products of TNT were the two materials 
considered in the calculation. The analytic, self-similar solution 
for the detonation wave in TNT provided the initial conditions. 
Included are pressure and density contours, velocity vector plots, 
and wave forms for 19 test stations. This calculation is a 
representation of the air blast of Event 6 of the DISTANT PLAIN test 
series to be fired in Canada, July 1967.
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