[TUHS] In memoriam: John Backus

Bakul Shah bakul at bitblocks.com
Sun Mar 17 12:16:32 AEST 2019

On Sat, 16 Mar 2019 18:05:52 -0700 Larry McVoy <lm at mcvoy.com> wrote:
> Fortran is sort of yucky but as Clem has said, it continues to pay the bills.
> That's some staying power.
> I am with you that it is ironic that he gave us BNF as well.  One wonders
> if he did that as a result of doing Fortran.

He did FP as a result of doing Fortran.  In an interview by
Grady Booch he says
  Well, it was just trying to be at a higher level so that
  you didn't have to get into all those gory details and
  stuff. Basically, the idea was to try to describe the
  transformation that you wanted to take place, rather than
  how to do it. It evolved very slowly and peculiarly.

But he said ultimately his effort failed because he couldn't see
how to deal with real time. Something he worked on for years.

> On Sun, Mar 17, 2019 at 12:02:39PM +1100, Dave Horsfall wrote:
> > We lost computer pioneer John Backus on this day in 2007; amongst other
> > things he gave us FORTRAN (yuck!) and BNF, which is ironic, really, because
> > FORTRAN has no syntax to speak of.
> > 
> > -- Dave

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