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  • Pranav Nandurkar

Do you know: The mind behind - Programming languages 

Updated: Feb 15

Enjoying coding and solving programs, but do you know how it came into existence? Want to know how and when it was created? Here's everything you need.


Ada Lovelace is credited as being the first person to describe or write a computer program. During 1842–1849, Ada Lovelace translated the memoir of Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea about Charles Babbage's newest proposed machine: the Analytical Engine. Speaking about programming language the first high-level programming language was Plankalkül, created by Konrad Zuse between 1942 and 1945. The first high-level language to have an associated compiler was created by Corrado Böhm in 1951, for his PhD thesis. The first commercially available language was FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation), developed in 1956 (the first manual appeared in 1956, but first developed in 1954) by a team led by John Backus at IBM.


Programming languages in its early stages -

An early proposal for a high-level programming language was Plankalkül, developed by Konrad Zuse for his Z1 computer between 1942 and 1945 but not implemented at the time.

The first functioning programming languages designed to communicate instructions to a computer were written in the early 1950s. John Mauchly's Short Code, proposed in 1949, was one of the first high-level languages ever developed for an electronic computer. Short Code statements represented mathematical expressions in an understandable form.

In the early 1950s, Alick Glennie developed Autocode, possibly the first compiled programming language, at the University of Manchester. In 1954, a second iteration of the language, known as the "Mark 1 Autocode," was developed for the Mark 1 by R. A. Brooker. Brooker also developed an auto-code for the Ferranti Mercury in the 1950s.

In 1954, FORTRAN was invented at IBM by a team led by John Backus; it was the first widely used high-level general-purpose programming language to have a functional implementation, as opposed to just a design on paper. When FORTRAN was first introduced, it was viewed with scepticism due to bugs, delays in development, and the comparative efficiency of "hand-coded" programs written in assembly. However, in a hardware market that was rapidly evolving; the language eventually became known for its efficiency. It is still a popular language for high-performance computing and is used for programs that benchmark and rank the world's fastest supercomputers.

Another early programming language was devised by Grace Hopper in the US, called FLOW-MATIC. It was developed for the UNIVAC I at Remington Rand during the period from 1955 until 1959. The FLOW-MATIC compiler became publicly available in early 1958 and was substantially complete in 1959. Flow-Matic was a major influence in the design of COBOL, since only it and its direct descendant AIMACO were in actual use at the time. Other languages still in use today include LISP (1958), invented by John McCarthy and COBOL (1959), created by the Short Range Committee. Another milestone in the late 1950s was the publication, by a committee of American and European computer scientists, of "a new language for algorithms"; the ALGOL 60 Report (the "ALGOrithmic Language").

Some notable languages that were developed in this period include:

1951 – Regional Assembly Language

1952 – Autocode

1954 – IPL (forerunner to LISP)

1955 – FLOW-MATIC (led to COBOL)

1957 – FORTRAN (first compiler)

1957 – COMTRAN (precursor to COBOL)

1958 – LISP

1958 – ALGOL 58

1959 – FACT (forerunner to COBOL)

1959 – COBOL

1959 – RPG

1962 – APL

1962 – Simula

1962 – SNOBOL

1963 – CPL (forerunner to C)

1964 – Speakeasy

1964 – BASIC

1964 – PL/I

1966 – JOSS

1966 - MUMPS

1967 – BCPL (forerunner to C)

These are some of the programming languages in the early stages.


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