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20-09-1954

Fortran computer coding language first used

No, It’s Not a Lesser-Known Transformer

If you happen to be reading this on a computer or similar electronically minded device, then firstly: well done! But secondly, your ability to achieve this is thanks in part to a computer coding language that was first run successfully on this day in 1954. It was originally known as FORTRAN as people in the 1950s liked to shout for some reason. But nowadays its referred to as the rather more sedate ‘Fortran’, though it still stands for ‘Formula Translation’.It was devised by the brainboxes at IBM, led by John Backus, who wanted to make software programming easier and reduce the input of human beings, which often messed things up (as we do). His plan was to have a language that used simple algebra, rather than whatever voodoo was utilised before. Fortran was especially handy for scientific and engineering applications and is still used in that field today, making it one of the oldest computer languages still adopted by clever coding types.