Backus , John


Backus , John
(1924–) American computer scientist
Backus was born in Philadelphia. After graduating from Columbia University, New York, he joined the staff of IBM in 1952 and remained with them until his retirement in 1991. From 1959 until 1963 he worked at the IBM Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, and thereafter as an IBM Fellow at the IBM Research Laboratory, San Jose, California.
Backus has reported on the state of programming when he joined IBM. It was, he noted, “a black art, a private arcane matter.” All programming was done using machine or assembly language. There were no compilers, no index registers, and the programmer spent most of his time debugging the program and feeding it into the computer. The programmers actually cost more than the computer. Backus commented, “They dismissed as foolish plans to make programming accessible to a larger population,” it was inconceivable “that any mechanical process could possibly perform the mysterious feats of invention required to write an efficient program.”
In 1954 Backus led an IBM team determined to free computer programming from the professional élite. As the speed of computers increased it made no sense to have them standing idle while a programmer struggled to operate them. The problem was made more pressing by the development of the new and more powerful IBM 704. By late 1954 some of the main details of the high level language FORTRAN (from Formula Translation) had been established. Backus defined his aim as “to design a language which would make it possible for engineers and scientists to write programs for the 704.” The language itself was available in 1957 and soon became the most widely used programming language.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Backus, John W(arner) — born Dec. 3, 1924, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S. U.S. mathematician. He received his bachelor s and master s degrees from Columbia University. He was head of a small group that in 1957 developed the computer language FORTRAN for numerical analysis. He… …   Universalium

  • Backus, John Warner — ▪ 2008       American computer scientist born Dec. 3, 1924 , Philadelphia, Pa. died March 17, 2007 , Ashland, Ore. led the team at IBM that during the 1950s designed FORTRAN (formula translation), the first important algorithmic language for… …   Universalium

  • Backus, John W(arner) — (n. 3 dic. 1924, Filadelfia, Pa., EE.UU.). Matemático estadounidense. Obtuvo los grados académicos de licenciatura y magíster en la Universidad de Columbia. Fue líder de un pequeño grupo que en 1957 desarrolló el lenguaje de computadora FORTRAN… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • John Backus — John Warner Backus John Warner Backus (* 3. Dezember 1924 in Philadelphia; † 17. März 2007 in Ashland, Oregon) war einer der Pioniere der Informatik. Er war Leiter des Entwicklungsteams von Fortran, der ersten Programmierhochsprache. Mit …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John W. Backus — John Warner Backus John Warner Backus (* 3. Dezember 1924 in Philadelphia; † 17. März 2007 in Ashland, Oregon) war einer der Pioniere der Informatik. Er war Leiter des Entwicklungsteams von Fortran, der ersten Programmierhochsprache. Mit …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Warner Backus — (* 3. Dezember 1924 in Philadelphia; † 17. März 2007 in Ashland, Oregon) war einer der Pioniere der Informatik. Er war Leiter des Entwicklungsteams von Fortran, der ersten Programmierhochsprache. Mit …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Backus — Nombre John Backus …   Wikipedia Español

  • John Pope (General) — John Pope (* 16. März 1822 in Louisville, Kentucky; † 23. September 1892 in Sandusky, Ohio) war General der United States Army. Während des Amerikanischen Bürgerkrieges führte Pope im ersten Kriegsjahr Truppen auf dem westlichen Kriegsschauplatz… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Backus — Infobox Scientist name = John Backus image width = 150px caption = birth date = Birth date|1924|12|3 birth place = Philadelphia, Pennsylvania death date = Death date and age|2007|3|17|1924|12|3 death place = Ashland, Oregon residence =… …   Wikipedia

  • John Backus — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Backus. John Backus John Warner Backus (3 décembre 1924 – 17 mars 2 …   Wikipédia en Français


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