Backus, John

Born: Dec 03, 1924 AD
Currently alive, at 90 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Researchers

1924 - John Backus was born 3rd of December in Philadelphia and grew up near there in Wilmington, Delaware.


1942 - Graduated from the Hill School, Backus did study chemistry for awhile, and enjoyed the theoretical aspects of the science, but he disliked the laboratory work.

1945 - Entered  in Flower and Fifth Avenue Medical School in New York, but he realized medicine wasn't for him and he lasted only 9 months.


1946 - Backus left the Army; he enrolled at a radio technician's school to learn how to build one.


1949 - Decided to enroll at Columbia University to study math. Backus visited the IBM Computer Center on Madison Avenue, where he toured the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC).


1953 - Wrote a memo to his boss that outlined the design of a programming language for IBM's new computer, the 704.


1954 - Backus and his team felt strongly enough about their research to publish a paper, called "Preliminary Report, Specifications for the IBM Mathematical FORmula TRANslating System, FORTRAN".


1959 - Developed a notation called the Backus-Naur Form. It describes grammatical rules for high-level languages, and has been adapted for use in a number of languages.


1970 - Worked on finding better programming methods, and developed what he called a function-level language, or FP (for functional programming).


1976 - Receives National medal of Science.


1977 - Introduces this Functional Programming language during a lecture given on the occasion of receiving the ACM Turing award.


1998 - Received Fellow Award Recipient of the Computer History Museum for his development of FORTRAN, contributions to computer systems theory and software project management.


1989 - Received doctor honoris causa of the Université Henri Poincaré - Nancy, France.


1991 - Backus retired this year.


1993 - Received Charles Stark Draper price for his work on Fortran.




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