Birth of a Whole New – and High Level – Language

Technology that Shapes Our Lives

September 20, 1954

FORTRAN: one of the oldest programming languages and first high-level language and compiler. Image courtesy of bobbeaty.com.

The first FORTRAN program is run at IBM.

Fortran is a general-purpose, procedural, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Originally developed by IBM for scientific and engineering applications, Fortran came to dominate this area of programming early on, and has been in continual use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, computational physics and computational chemistry. It is one of the most popular languages in the area of high-performance computing and is the language used for programs that benchmark and rank the world’s fastest supercomputers.