A brief history of programming languages


May be found here. He doesn't seem aware of RPN. The kids these days...


Obviously a joke, although the dates are somewhat accurate


Thanks, db;

I cannot recall the last time I laughed that much... Matches 'The Bing Bang Theory' in being so prolific.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 11 May 2010, 6:17 a.m.


In the mod 80s I was able to GOTO the office of Kemeny & Kurtz in Lebanon, NH. They had launched True BASIC which was a modern version of their old BASIC-- supported structured programming and the use of library modules. I met with professor Kurtz several times, but only once with the late professor Kemeny. I remember asking him "I read in your company's bio that you worked for Einstein, How was he?" Kemeny replied that Einstein was incredible even in his seventies. Kemeny was working for Einstein to solve partial differential equations. After a year of trying hard, Kemeny went back to Einstein and told him the task was too difficult. Of course, Kemeny went on to be the Dean of Dartmouth College--no small task!



That's great that you actually met them, Namir. These two gentlemen were indeed pioneers of computer programming. They were among the first to really make programming accessible to the average person, in their case, non-engineering college students. All of us today are indebted to them for what they achieved.


I remember John Kemeny more for being the chairman of the Presidential Commission on the Three Mile Island nuclear accident. If I remember correctly, he said his home Apple II computer had many times the computing power as did the computers used to control Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Station. Someone had given me a copy of the draft report before it came out. He did a fantastic job chairing the commission.



Well, RPN is not a programming language. I do recall a programming language that uses RPN, Iverson's APL, but that is strangely omitted.


1957 - John Backus and IBM create FORTRAN. There's nothing funny about IBM or FORTRAN. It is a syntax error to write FORTRAN while not wearing a blue tie.

Now that is funny!


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