1
Oral History of John Backus
Oral History of John Backus
DATE: 2013/09/26::
2
John Backus - New Atlantic Ventures
John Backus - New Atlantic Ventures
DATE: 2009/11/25::
3
1977 - John Backus
1977 - John Backus
DATE: 2014/03/03::
4
John Backus - VITROS® Microslide Technologies / Assays
John Backus - VITROS® Microslide Technologies / Assays
DATE: 2013/06/21::
5
7th Session of Turingg100 | Life and Work of Dr. John Backus | Dr. Abhijat Vichare
7th Session of Turingg100 | Life and Work of Dr. John Backus | Dr. Abhijat Vichare
DATE: 2013/02/07::
6
Help for John Backus
Help for John Backus
DATE: 2014/03/19::
7
Interview with John Backus
Interview with John Backus
DATE: 2014/01/29::
8
John Backus Gives a Venture Perspective on Tech Trends
John Backus Gives a Venture Perspective on Tech Trends
DATE: 2013/02/26::
9
TRABALHO DE ALP0001: JOHN BACKUS
TRABALHO DE ALP0001: JOHN BACKUS
DATE: 2012/08/08::
10
J (programming language)
J (programming language)
DATE: 2014/08/12::
11
Kevin O
Kevin O'Leary is Upset for Capitalism
DATE: 2012/12/25::
12
Gus Backus - Short On Love - 1963
Gus Backus - Short On Love - 1963
DATE: 2010/08/17::
13
The Backus Family Tree
The Backus Family Tree
DATE: 2014/12/26::
14
Ruby Conference 2010 - DHH - Keynote: Why Ruby?
Ruby Conference 2010 - DHH - Keynote: Why Ruby?
DATE: 2015/01/24::
15
Live from AFT14- Nicole Sandler with John Brady- Backus Nurses
Live from AFT14- Nicole Sandler with John Brady- Backus Nurses
DATE: 2014/08/04::
16
Coding Keypad
Coding Keypad
DATE: 2013/03/07::
17
Futurecasting:  Next Trends in Market Disruption
Futurecasting: Next Trends in Market Disruption
DATE: 2014/10/16::
18
Llegada de John Cusi - Nacional de Fondismo "Tour Backus +18" - 10/08/2014
Llegada de John Cusi - Nacional de Fondismo "Tour Backus +18" - 10/08/2014
DATE: 2014/08/10::
19
Ann Doka & Jeffrey Backus @ Country Music Meeting 2015
Ann Doka & Jeffrey Backus @ Country Music Meeting 2015
DATE: 2015/02/12::
20
Bob the Eye Licking Madman!
Bob the Eye Licking Madman!
DATE: 2012/07/14::
21
Gus Backus - He! Alter John
Gus Backus - He! Alter John
DATE: 2014/04/16::
22
Former New York Yankee John Ellis speaks at Backus Hospital Cancer Survivors Day.
Former New York Yankee John Ellis speaks at Backus Hospital Cancer Survivors Day.
DATE: 2014/10/11::
23
Robert Herjavec on False Encouragement
Robert Herjavec on False Encouragement
DATE: 2013/05/05::
24
Plainfield Planning & Zoning Commission approves special permit for new Backus medical center.
Plainfield Planning & Zoning Commission approves special permit for new Backus medical center.
DATE: 2015/03/11::
25
Backus Sormac model KP50 Peeler
Backus Sormac model KP50 Peeler
DATE: 2013/02/13::
26
Want It - N. Backus #TRNBM
Want It - N. Backus #TRNBM
DATE: 2014/01/21::
27
Shooting at Backus Hospital in Norwich
Shooting at Backus Hospital in Norwich
DATE: 2012/08/28::
28
Partisan Challenges for McCain and Obama - Jenny Backus
Partisan Challenges for McCain and Obama - Jenny Backus
DATE: 2008/07/25::
29
Concurso Nacional de Marinera Limeña Backus - "Gran Premio Cerveza Cristal 2008"
Concurso Nacional de Marinera Limeña Backus - "Gran Premio Cerveza Cristal 2008"
DATE: 2009/02/15::
30
Backus Page House Museum
Backus Page House Museum
DATE: 2014/10/25::
31
Harmonica Ti-Paul Gus Backus Wooden Heart
Harmonica Ti-Paul Gus Backus Wooden Heart
DATE: 2009/05/13::
32
1951 HITS ARCHIVE: John And Marsha - Stan Freberg
1951 HITS ARCHIVE: John And Marsha - Stan Freberg
DATE: 2013/11/12::
33
Campeonato Adultos Backus 2009
Campeonato Adultos Backus 2009
DATE: 2012/10/16::
34
Go Pro Test - Helmet Cam - Walking through the office af TOM BACKUS
Go Pro Test - Helmet Cam - Walking through the office af TOM BACKUS
DATE: 2010/05/11::
35
Cancer Survivors Day at Backus Hospital.
Cancer Survivors Day at Backus Hospital.
DATE: 2013/10/05::
36
Tom Backus rocking out - Episode 1 - Shot with the Canon 5d Mark II 14mm Lens
Tom Backus rocking out - Episode 1 - Shot with the Canon 5d Mark II 14mm Lens
DATE: 2010/06/21::
37
La Vengeance de Gina - Film Complet en français 2014 HD
La Vengeance de Gina - Film Complet en français 2014 HD
DATE: 2014/07/16::
38
Whats My Line!   Patti Page; Jim Backus panel Sep 22, 1957 2
Whats My Line! Patti Page; Jim Backus panel Sep 22, 1957 2
DATE: 2014/09/04::
39
Learn How to Chainsaw Carve with Steve Backus and Bailey
Learn How to Chainsaw Carve with Steve Backus and Bailey's!
DATE: 2010/04/29::
40
Backus 2011 Entrega Campeones 2010 Senior
Backus 2011 Entrega Campeones 2010 Senior
DATE: 2011/10/20::
41
Cancer Survivor Day Celebration at the William W. Backus Hospital on Saturday.
Cancer Survivor Day Celebration at the William W. Backus Hospital on Saturday.
DATE: 2014/10/11::
42
A E  Backus Waterloo Medals
A E Backus Waterloo Medals
DATE: 2011/08/17::
43
Part I - Introduction/ Policy Spotlight for Entrepreneurs
Part I - Introduction/ Policy Spotlight for Entrepreneurs
DATE: 2010/11/18::
44
Celebration of Life, Cancer Survivor Day Backus Hospital.
Celebration of Life, Cancer Survivor Day Backus Hospital.
DATE: 2012/10/06::
45
Marinera Limeña BACKUS 2009
Marinera Limeña BACKUS 2009
DATE: 2009/11/09::
46
I Married Joan Home Movies Joan Davis & Jim Backus (classic sitcom)
I Married Joan Home Movies Joan Davis & Jim Backus (classic sitcom)
DATE: 2015/02/22::
47
Backus Federation of Nurses/United Way Food Drive 2/4/12
Backus Federation of Nurses/United Way Food Drive 2/4/12
DATE: 2012/02/07::
48
8-year-old symphony conductor Joey Alfidi on "What
8-year-old symphony conductor Joey Alfidi on "What's My Line?" (November 17, 1957)
DATE: 2013/04/21::
49
Mira Sorvino takes on the #IceBucketChallenge
Mira Sorvino takes on the #IceBucketChallenge
DATE: 2014/08/22::
50
Entrevista a Sr. Broswi Galvez Representante de Backus-Cristal Tour Perú-Nacional de Fondismo 2013
Entrevista a Sr. Broswi Galvez Representante de Backus-Cristal Tour Perú-Nacional de Fondismo 2013
DATE: 2013/08/01::
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For the physicist, see John Backus (acoustician).
John Backus
Born (1924-12-03)December 3, 1924
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died March 17, 2007(2007-03-17) (aged 82)
Ashland, Oregon
Fields Computer Science
Institutions IBM
Alma mater Columbia University (M.S., 1950)
Known for Speedcoding
FORTRAN
ALGOL
Backus-Naur form
Function-level programming
Notable awards National Medal of Science (1975)
ACM Turing Award (1977)
Harold Pender Award (1983)
Charles Stark Draper Prize (1993)
Computer History Museum Fellow (1997) [1]

John Warner Backus (December 3, 1924 – March 17, 2007) was an American computer scientist. He directed the team that invented the first widely used high-level programming language (FORTRAN) and was the inventor of the Backus-Naur form (BNF), a widely used notation to define formal language syntax. He also did research in function-level programming and helped to popularize it.

The IEEE awarded Backus the W.W. McDowell Award in 1967 for the development of FORTRAN.[2] He received the National Medal of Science in 1975,[3] and the 1977 ACM Turing Award “for profound, influential, and lasting contributions to the design of practical high-level programming systems, notably through his work on FORTRAN, and for publication of formal procedures for the specification of programming languages.”[4]

Life and career[edit]

Backus was born in Philadelphia and grew up in nearby Wilmington, Delaware. He studied at the The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and was apparently not a diligent student.[5] After entering the University of Virginia to study chemistry, he quit and was conscripted into the U.S. Army.[5] He began medical training at Haverford College[6] and, during an internship at a hospital, he was diagnosed with a cranial bone tumor, which was successfully removed; a plate was installed in his head, and he ended medical training after nine months and a subsequent operation to replace the plate with one of his own design.[7]

After moving to New York City he trained initially as a radio technician and became interested in mathematics. He graduated from Columbia University with a Master's degree in mathematics in 1949, and joined IBM in 1950. During his first three years, he worked on the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC); his first major project was to write a program to calculate positions of the Moon. In 1953 Backus developed the language Speedcoding, the first high-level language created for an IBM computer, to aid in software development for the IBM 701 computer.[8]

Programming was very difficult at this time, and in 1954 Backus assembled a team to define and develop Fortran for the IBM 704 computer. Fortran was the first high-level programming language to be put to broad use.

Backus made another, critical contribution to early computer science: during the latter part of the 1950s Backus served on the international committees that developed ALGOL 58 and the very influential ALGOL 60, which quickly became the de facto worldwide standard for publishing algorithms. Backus developed the Backus-Naur Form (BNF), in the UNESCO report on ALGOL 58. It was a formal notation able to describe any context-free programming language, and was important in the development of compilers. This contribution helped Backus win the Turing Award.

Though the Backus Normal Form was discovered independently by John Backus; Pāṇini, a grammarian from India who lived sometime between 4th and 7th century BCE, presented a notation which is equivalent in its power to that of Backus and has many similar properties. [9]

Backus later worked on a "function-level" programming language known as FP which was described in his Turing Award lecture "Can Programming be Liberated from the von Neumann Style?". Sometimes viewed as Backus's apology for creating FORTRAN, this paper did less to garner interest in the FP language than to spark research into functional programming in general. An FP interpreter was distributed with the 4.2BSD Unix operating system. FP was strongly inspired by Kenneth E. Iverson’s APL, even using a non-standard character set. Backus spent the latter part of his career developing FL (from "Function Level"), a successor to FP. FL was an internal IBM research project, and development of the language essentially stopped when the project was finished (only a few papers documenting it remain), but many of the language's innovative, arguably important ideas have now been implemented in versions of the J programming language.

Backus was named an IBM Fellow in 1963,[10] and was awarded a degree honoris causa from the Henri Poincaré University in Nancy (France) in 1989[11] and a Draper Prize in 1993.[12] He retired in 1991 and died at his home in Ashland, Oregon on March 17, 2007.[5]

Awards and honors[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ John Backus 1997 Fellow
  2. ^ a b "W. Wallace McDowell Award". Retrieved April 15, 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "The President's National Medal of Science: John Backus". National Science Foundation. Retrieved March 21, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b "ACM Turing Award Citation: John Backus". Association for Computing Machinery. Archived from the original on February 4, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2007. 
  5. ^ a b c Lohr, Steve (March 20, 2007). "John W. Backus, 82, Fortran Developer, Dies". New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2007. 
  6. ^ "Inventor of the Week Archive John Backus". February 2006. Retrieved August 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ Grady Booch (interviewer) (September 25, 2006). "Oral History of John Backus" (pdf). Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  8. ^ Allen, F.E. (September 1981). "The History of Language Processor Technology in IBM". IBM Journal of Research and Development 25 (5): 535–548. doi:10.1147/rd.255.0535. 
  9. ^ http://turnbull.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/history/Biographies/Panini.html
  10. ^ a b "John Backus". IBM Archives. Retrieved March 21, 2007. 
  11. ^ a b "John Backus". Retrieved April 15, 2008. 
  12. ^ a b "Recipients of the Charles Stark Draper Prize". Retrieved March 26, 2007. 
  13. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 28, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Fellow Awards 1997 Recipient John Backus". Retrieved April 15, 2008. 

External links[edit]

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