History of Computer Programming Languages

Essay by BrOxATL02University, Bachelor'sA+, December 2004

download word file, 7 pages 4.4


Important Dates:

Known today as being one of the oldest computer programming languages, FORTRAN, which stands for FORmula TRANslation, was developed and published in 1957 by John Backus and his team of professional computer programmers at International Business Machine Corporation. As more and more technological advances were made, the FORTRAN language underwent many changes that allowed programs to be transferred between computers. Later versions of the programming language were FORTAN II, FORTRAN IV, FORTRAN '66, FORTRAN '77, FORTRAN '90, and High Performance FORTRAN.


Developed by John Backus, along with his team of professional computer programmers at International Business Machine Corporation in order to simplify complex equations.

Language Specification:

FORTRAN was developed to easily translate math formulas into simple code. Before the creation of FORTRAN, the only way programmers could program a computer was by using machine/assembly code, which was not only extremely difficult, but very time consuming.

Programmers were looking for something that would be easy to learn, and after the development of the language, programmers were able to write programs 500 times faster compared to codes used before. Some of the key features of the FORTRAN computer programming language are that it was very simple to learn, it could be easily moved from one machine to another, it was at the time very efficient in executing problems, and it could take complex mathematical equations and put them in very simple algebraic notation. It was the first language to introduce variable names more than one letter long. Below is an example of how the FORTRAN programming language would appear.

******Output for Computer Science

WRITE(6,*)'Computer Science'



University Of Michigan, Dearborn, College of Engineering and Computer Science. (n.d.). The FORTRAN Programming Language. Retrieved September 14, 2004, from


Schneider, G., Gersting, J. (2004). Invitation to Computer Science...