A Brief History of Computing
- Programming Languages

© Copyright 1996-2005, Stephen White

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1951 High level language compiler invented by Grace Murray Hopper.
1954 FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation) development started by John Backus and his team at IBM - continuing until 1957. FORTRAN is a programming language, used for Scientific programming.
1957 FORTRAN development finished. See 1954.
1958 LISP (interpreted language) developed, Finished in 1960. LISP stands for 'LISt Processing', but some call it 'Lots of Irritating and Stupid Parenthesis' due to the huge number of confusing nested brackets used in LISP programs. Used in A.I. development. Developed by John McCarthy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
1959 COBOL (COmmon Business-Orientated Language) was developed, the initial specifications being released in April 1960.
1960 ALGOL - first structured, procedural, language to be released.
1961 APL programming language released by Kenneth Iverson at IBM.
1964 Programming language PL/1 released by IBM.
1965 BASIC (Beginners All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) developed at Dartmouth College, USA, by Thomas E. Kurtz and John Kemeny. Not implemented on microcomputers until 1975. It is often used in education to teach programming, and also at home by beginners.
1967 Development on PASCAL started, to be finished in 1971. Based on ALGOL. Developed by Niklaus Wirth. Its use exploded after the introduction of Turbo Pascal, by Borland, in 1984 - a high speed and low cost compiler. It is used for a wide variety of tasks, it contains many features, is well structured and easy to learn. Borland Pascal v7.0 included an implementation of Object-Orientated programming (similar to C++).
1968 LOGO programming language developed by Seymour Papert and team at MIT.
1970 'Forth' programming language developed.
1971 Development of PASCAL finished - see 1967.

C programming language developed at The Bell Laboratories in the USA by Dennis Ritche (one of the inventors of the UNIX operating system), its predecessor was the B programming language - also from The Bell Laboratories. It is a very popular language, especially for systems programming - as it is flexible and fast. C++, allowing for Object-Orientated Programming, was introduced in early 1980s.

1973 Prolog developed at the University of Luminy-Marseilles in France by Alain Colmerauer. It is often used for AI programming.
1975 First implementation of BASIC by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, it was written for the MITS Altair - the first personal computer - this led to the formation of Microsoft later in the year.
1979 Language Ada introduced by Jean Ichbiah and team at Honeywell.
1984 Turbo Pascal Introduced by Borland (see PASCAL, 1967).

© Copyright 1996-2004, Stephen White My homepage - email:swhite@ox.compsoc.net