Problem-oriented language

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A specialized language for programming problems belonging to a clearly distinguished class. The indication of the class reduces to either a fixation of the mathematical objects lying at the base of the problems to be solved (e.g. the class of problems of linear algebra), or a fixation of the range of application of the computer (e.g. a class of planning or information flow problems in business or manufacture). The orientation on the problem is usually performed in the context of some universal programming language, in relation to which the problem-oriented language is either a super-, a pre- or a sublanguage. A superlanguage is obtained by enriching the universal language with additional constructions that are especially appropriate for the formulation of the problems in the class. The usual constructions of the universal language are obtained either by "tying in" the additional constructions into the entire program, or by programming "non-standard" problem instances. In a pre-language the additional constructions completely "enclose" the universal language and are translated into it by a special pre-processor. A sublanguage is obtained from the universal language by discarding constructions that are not necessary in the given class of problems, or by a preliminary composition of a library of "standard programs" , which in its totality is sufficient for expressing every problem in the class. In all situations the advantage of using a problem-oriented language is that instead of programming each problem in the class anew, it is sufficient to indicate, by means of the problem-oriented language, parameters which differ from problem to problem.


One considers languages specifically oriented towards special classes of machines or chips, cf. Machine-oriented language.

How to Cite This Entry:
Problem-oriented language. A.P. Ershov (originator), Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL:
This text originally appeared in Encyclopedia of Mathematics - ISBN 1402006098