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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 16 Number 4 -- Happenings

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129833D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 18K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

GEOFFREY C. BOWKER: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The Happenings department reports on past, present, and future events that are of interest to the history of computing. These events include conferences, appropriate sessions from meetings, exhibits, projects, awards, publications, collections, general memorabilia, and important dates in the history of computing. Contributions to the department are encouraged, and should consist of a description or report of the event, highlighting its specific relevance. John Backus, Developer of Fortran, Receives the Charles Stark Draper Prize On the evening of February 22, 1994, at a splendid dinner and awards ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin room of the US State Department, the National Academy of Engineering presented John Backus with the third Charles Stark Draper Prize. Backus was cited ";for the development of Fortran -- FORmula TRANslation -- the first general-purpose, high-level computer language, which ushered in the computer software revolution."; The award, the highest honor presented by the academy, consists of a gold medal and a prize of $375,000. Backus is the first individual to receive the award not in the company of a fellow inventor. He was accompanied to the ceremony by five of his team of developers -- Richard Goldberg, Lois Haibt, Harlan Herrick, David Sayre, and Irving Ziller -- with whom he shared the spotlight both in his acceptance speech and in the post-ceremony picture taking. The prize was presented by John H. Gibbons, assistant to the president for science and technology, who thanked John for his assistance in completing his own postgraduate degree, which would not have been possible without the programming language Fortran.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1994 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Happenings

GEOFFREY C. BOWKER, EDITOR

The Happenings department reports on past, present, and future events that are of interest to the history of computing. These events include conferences, appropriate sessions from meetings, exhibits, projects, awards, publications, collections, general memorabilia, and important dates in the history of computing. Contributions to the department are encouraged, and should consist of a description or report of the event, highlighting its specific relevance.

John Backus, Developer of Fortran, Receives the Charles Stark Draper Prize

On the evening of February 22, 1994, at a splendid dinner and awards ceremony in the Benjamin Franklin room of the US State Department, the National Academy of Engineering presented John Backus with the third Charles Stark Draper Prize. Backus was cited "for the development of Fortran -- FORmula TRANslation -- the first general-purpose, high-level computer language, which ushered in the computer software revolution." The award, the highest honor presented by the academy, consists of a gold medal and a prize of $375,000. Backus is the first individual to receive the award not in the company of a fellow inventor. He was accompanied to the ceremony by five of his team of developers -- Richard Goldberg, Lois Haibt, Harlan Herrick, David Sayre, and Irving Ziller -- with whom he shared the spotlight both in his acceptance speech and in the post-ceremony picture taking. The prize was presented by John
H. Gibbons, assistant to the president for science and technology, who thanked John for his assistance in completing his own postgraduate degree, which would not have been possible without the programming language Fortran.

In his acceptance speech, John Backus acknowledged the support of both his programming team and his manager, Cuthbert Hurd, "who recognized the importance of the ambitious Fortran project...and had the courage to support it." Noting that the purpose of the Draper Prize is to increase public understanding of the contributions of engineering and technology to the welfare and freedom of humanity, and to encourage young people to become engineers, Backus took as his theme the intertwining of successes and failures in innovation:

Young engineers do not fully understand what courage in science means. They don't because the media gives us inaccurate pictures of scientific achievement. The media glamorizes the process -- quick success, quick fame. For each successful idea, we usually have dozens

(Image Omitted: John Backus, recipient of the Charles S...