John Backus : A Man Who Made Lasting Contributions On The Field Of Technology

1137 Words Sep 27th, 2015 null Page
John Backus, a man who made lasting contributions to the field of technology as a computer scientist, was surprisingly described as a terrible student in high school and throughout his entire career as a student. After a delayed graduation, he attended college at the University of Virginia where he majored in chemistry, but eventually he stopped going to classes and got expelled. In 1943 he was drafted into the Army where he was put in charge of an anti‐aircraft crew, but an aptitude test showed he had promise in the medical field and soon after he was transferred to a medical training program; however, school still did not agree with him and he lasted less than a year. Eventually Backus did graduate with a Masters Degree in 1949 from Columbia University, and shortly before he graduated he found a job with IBM where he began working with the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC) as a programmer (Campbell). Back then no one was familiar with what a programmer really was nor did Backus know much about computers. Nonetheless, he worked on the SSEC for about a year until he moved on to the IBM 701, a precursor for IBM’s long history of successful scientific and business computers. One of Backus’ jobs at IBM was to fix the machine when it was broken. He was also in charge of writing programs which was a bigger challenge than keeping the machine running. In order to make programming easier, Backus developed his first intermediate programming language called SpeedCoding,…

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