Science, Technology & Medicine

FORTRAN programming language
developed for the IBM 704 (compiler introduced in 1957)

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There are 3 comments for this item.

Posted by freddo30 at 9:50 am (PDT) on Thu March 24, 2016   
Like cursive writing and transistors, useful at one time but doomed to obsolescence.
Posted by Duff at 2:51 am (PDT) on Mon September 21, 2009   
I studied Electrical Engineering at NYU, or at least purported to do so. (I dropped out in 1970 after my sophomore year, and began my computing career as an operator at NYU's UNIVAC 1108 mainframe computer center.)

During my sophomore year, the only course that interested me was "Introduction to Computers", a FORTRAN programming course. The instructor was Alvy Ray Smith, who went on to invent many of the basic elements of computer graphics and to co-found Pixar. He claims to remember my term project, a FORTRAN-coded perpetual calendar program that could print full-page monthly calendars with custom holiday text and semi-random line-printer-art designs.
Posted by Max at 1:39 am (PDT) on Mon September 21, 2009   
I learnt FORTRAN in the 1970's at Los Angeles City College. The teacher was Harice Seeds, who wrote the textbook used in such classes. I had been studying the Wang BASIC manual so I could become indispensable to the company, which had taken delivery on a Wang 2200 mini-computer. They used canned software but when something went wrong, they were clueless and unable to describe the problem sufficiently for the support people--at the other end of the telephone line--to provide meaningful help.

I also learnt a good deal from studying the software company's code and was able to make some changes or additions for the company's specific requirements and provide the software guys with some debugging and improvements. So, the scheme worked. Eventually the company invested in a Wang mainframe with a tape drive and a pair of the miraculous 288Mb hard disc drives that were no bigger than a washing machine!

The software company offered me a job but I turned it down. I did buy a few shares of their stock and got a positive return (but not a very impressive one) when they dissolved a few years later.

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