Backus, John

Portrait
Born: Dec 03, 1924 AD
Currently alive, at 89 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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