Sunday, May 6, 2018

This Week in Science History: BASIC

On May 1, 1964, the programming language BASIC was first successfully used to run programs on the General Electric computer system. The language was invented by math professors John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The name ‘BASIC’ stands for “Beginner’s All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code”. The language used commands similar to English, which allowed it to be learned more easily, even by schoolchildren and beginner programmers. One of the most famous uses of BASIC was in 1975 when Paul Allen and Bill Gates, the founding fathers of Microsoft, wrote a version of BASIC for the Altair personal computer. It later became the first product Microsoft sold. By the mid 1980s, developers had more options for programming languages such as C and C++ and the usage of BASIC decreased. In 1991, though, the introduction of Visual Basic written by Microsoft brought BASIC back to popularity. In 2001, BASIC .NET was released by Microsoft in 2001.

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