Hiring guide for ALGOL 58 Engineers

ALGOL 58 Developer Hiring Guide

ALGOL 58, also known as the International Algebraic Language, was one of the earliest high-level programming languages, developed jointly by a committee of European and American computer scientists in 1958. It was designed to allow scientists to express their problems in a way that resembles mathematical notation. The language significantly influenced many later languages like ALGOL 60, Pascal, and C. ALGOL 58 introduced block structure for programs and lexical scoping of variables and subroutines. Its development is documented in the historical reports of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).

Ask the right questions secure the right ALGOL 58 talent among an increasingly shrinking pool of talent.

First 20 minutes

General ALGOL 58 app knowledge and experience

The first 20 minutes of the interview should seek to understand the candidate's general background in ALGOL 58 application development, including their experience with various programming languages, databases, and their approach to designing scalable and maintainable systems.

What are the main features of ALGOL 58?
ALGOL 58, also known as IAL, is characterized by its block structure, lexical scoping, recursion, and the separation of the language into two parts - the core language and the standard library.
How would you declare a variable in ALGOL 58?
In ALGOL 58, a variable is declared using the keyword 'real' or 'integer' followed by the variable name. For example, 'real x;' or 'integer count;'.
Describe the difference between ALGOL 58 and ALGOL 60.
ALGOL 60 introduced several improvements over ALGOL 58, including the addition of 'for' loops, 'if-then-else' statements, and the removal of the 'own' keyword. ALGOL 60 also introduced the concept of 'call by name'.
What are the data types supported by ALGOL 58?
ALGOL 58 supports two main data types: real numbers and integers.
How would you write a function in ALGOL 58?
A function in ALGOL 58 is defined using the 'procedure' keyword, followed by the function name, parameters, and the function body. For example, 'procedure add(x, y); begin real result; result := x + y; return result; end;'.
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What you’re looking for early on

Does the candidate have a solid understanding of ALGOL 58?
Can the candidate effectively debug ALGOL 58 code?
Has the candidate demonstrated the ability to work well in a team?
Does the candidate have experience with similar programming languages?

Next 20 minutes

Specific ALGOL 58 development questions

The next 20 minutes of the interview should focus on the candidate's expertise with specific backend frameworks, their understanding of RESTful APIs, and their experience in handling data storage and retrieval efficiently.

How would you implement recursion in ALGOL 58?
Recursion in ALGOL 58 can be implemented by having a procedure call itself. For example, a recursive procedure to calculate factorial could be written as 'procedure factorial(n); begin if n = 0 then return 1; else return n * factorial(n - 1); end;'.
What are the control structures available in ALGOL 58?
ALGOL 58 provides several control structures including 'if-then', 'go to', and 'while-do'.
How would you handle arrays in ALGOL 58?
Arrays in ALGOL 58 are declared using the 'array' keyword followed by the array dimensions. For example, 'array A[1:10];'. Elements can be accessed using their index, for example 'A[5]'.
Describe the difference between lexical and dynamic scoping in the context of ALGOL 58.
ALGOL 58 uses lexical scoping, which means that a variable's scope is determined by its position in the source code, and nested functions have access to variables declared in their outer scope. This is different from dynamic scoping, where a variable's scope is determined by the execution context.
How would you implement error handling in ALGOL 58?
ALGOL 58 does not have built-in support for exception handling. Error conditions would have to be checked and handled manually in the code.
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The ideal back-end app developer

What you’re looking to see on the ALGOL 58 engineer at this point.

At this point, a skilled ALGOL 58 engineer should demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, proficiency in ALGOL 58 programming language, and knowledge of software development methodologies. Red flags include lack of hands-on experience, inability to articulate complex concepts, or unfamiliarity with standard coding practices.

Digging deeper

Code questions

These will help you see the candidate's real-world development capabilities with ALGOL 58.

What does this simple ALGOL 58 code do?
begin integer x; x := 5; print(x); end
This code declares an integer variable 'x', assigns the value 5 to it, and then prints the value of 'x'.
What will be the output of the following ALGOL 58 code?
begin integer x, y; x := 5; y := 10; print(x + y); end
The output of this code will be 15. It declares two integer variables 'x' and 'y', assigns the values 5 and 10 to them respectively, and then prints the sum of 'x' and 'y'.
What does this ALGOL 58 code do with arrays?
begin integer array a[1:5]; integer i; for i := 1 step 1 until 5 do a[i] := i; print(a); end
This code declares an integer array 'a' with 5 elements, uses a for loop to assign values to each element of the array, and then prints the array.
What does this ALGOL 58 code do with threading?
begin own integer x; x := 0; parbegin integer i; for i := 1 step 1 until 5 do x := x + i; print(x); parend end
This code declares an integer variable 'x', assigns the value 0 to it, then uses a parallel block to increment 'x' by the values from 1 to 5 in parallel, and then prints the value of 'x'.

Wrap-up questions

Final candidate for ALGOL 58 Developer role questions

The final few questions should evaluate the candidate's teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills. Additionally, assess their knowledge of microservices architecture, serverless computing, and how they handle ALGOL 58 application deployments. Inquire about their experience in handling system failures and their approach to debugging and troubleshooting.

What are the limitations of ALGOL 58?
Some limitations of ALGOL 58 include lack of support for string manipulation, no built-in file I/O operations, and no support for exception handling.
How would you optimize a piece of code written in ALGOL 58?
Optimization in ALGOL 58 would involve techniques such as minimizing the use of expensive operations, reducing the number of function calls, and optimizing data structures and algorithms.
Describe the difference between pass by value and pass by name in the context of ALGOL 58.
In pass by value, the actual value of the argument is passed to the function, while in pass by name, a reference to the argument is passed. ALGOL 58 supports both, but pass by name was introduced in ALGOL 60.

ALGOL 58 application related

Product Perfect's ALGOL 58 development capabilities

Beyond hiring for your ALGOL 58 engineering team, you may be in the market for additional help. Product Perfect provides seasoned expertise in ALGOL 58 projects, and can engage in multiple capacities.