• Mark PriestleyEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Computing book series (BRIEFSHC)


The importance of subroutines as a way of enabling code reuse was clear to von Neumann from the beginning of his work on the EDVAC code. However, the need for subroutines to be relocatable within EDVAC’s memory raised technical issues that the users of earlier machines had not had to face. This chapter examines how Goldstine and von Neumann’s ideas about subroutines evolved over the period of writing the Planning and Coding reports, examining the role of subroutines in the process of program design, the representation of subroutines on flow diagrams, and the practical issues involved in the use of a subroutine library. Their approach is contrasted with the better-known proposals formulated for the EDSAC machine in Cambridge.


John von Neumann Subroutines Subroutine library EDSAC David Wheeler Code reuse 

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freelance Writer and Historian of ComputingLondonUK

Personalised recommendations