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John Backus. Portrait of John Backus (born 1924), American computer scientist and inventor of the Formula Translator (FORTRAN) computer programming language. After graduating in mathematics at Columbia University, Backus joined International Business Machines (IBM) as a computer programmer in 1950. After developing an assembly language for the IBM 701 computer in 1953, Backus began work on developing a compiler and higher level language for the IBM 704. This language, FORTRAN, was completed in 1957 and was the first language which enabled computers to communicate with each other. It also allowed non-specialist computer users to program their machines.
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