Monday, November 24, 2008

How Fortran Was Developed

While going through a presentation (pdf) by John Anderson of the University of Edinburgh at LISA'08, I came across a fascinating quote:
As far as we were aware, we simply made up the language as we went along.We did not regard language design as a difficult problem, merely a simple prelude to the real problem: designing a compiler which could produce efficient programs.
- John Backus, Developer of Fortran and inventor of BNF
Googling a bit led to Backus' paper (pdf) from which the quote had been taken.

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