John Backus, the creator of FORTRAN, the first high-level programming language, has died at the age of 82. He led the small team at IBM which produced the compiler and in the process enabled engineers and mathematicians to harness computer power without having to wrestle with machine code. Fortran (the name was an amalgam of ‘formula’ and ‘translation’) was released in 1957. It was the first programming language I learned as an undergraduate (working on an IBM 1401 mainframe). Nice Herald Trib obit here.