Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 20th Mar 2007 21:42 UTC, submitted by jayson.knight
General Development John Backus, whose development of the Fortran programming language in the 1950s changed how people interacted with computers and paved the way for modern software, has died. He was 82. Backus died Saturday in Ashland, Oregon, according to IBM, where he spent his career. Prior to Fortran, computers had to be meticulously 'hand-coded' - programmed in the raw strings of digits that triggered actions inside the machine. Fortran was a 'high-level' programming language because it abstracted that work - it let programmers enter commands in a more intuitive system, which the computer would translate into machine code on its own.
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FORTRAN and BNF grammars - **excellent** work by Backus.

I help out a bit with a project on Sourceforge which uses BNF grammars extensively. They're great - a very simple, easy and elegant way to code up a programming language.

John Backus - "you da man!".

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