Who invented Fortran?

FORTRAN or Formula Translator language was invented by John Backus in 1954 for IBM (International Business Machines Corporation). John Backus, a popular American computer scientist worked with a team of other scientists to come up with a general purpose programming language called Fortran as an alternative to assembly language programming. In 1967 he received the W.W. Mc Dowell Award for development of FORTRAN by IEEE. It is the first high level programming language and was meant for use in engineering and scientific related applications.

Fortran is derived from IBM Mathematical Formula Translation System. This general purpose, imperative, procedural programming language is particularly suited for numeric and scientific computations. Fortran has been continuously used for more than half a century in areas which needed extensive computations such as numerical weather production, computational fluid dynamics, finite element analysis, computational chemistry and computational physics. It was among the most popular languages in the high-performance computing area.

Programs that rank and benchmark the world’s fastest supercomputers use Fortran even now. Fortran has a number of descendent versions. Each version added extensions to the language while compatibility with the previous versions was maintained. Versions that have evolved have included support for character-based data (FORTRAN 77), modular programming, array programming and object-based programming (Fortran 90 / 95), and generic programming and object-oriented (Fortran 2003). Today it is possible to write an entirely portable program in Fortran without using a preprocessor.

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