What Happened on December 3rd
Control Data Corporation announces its 7600 model, considered by some to be the first true supercomputer. The CDC 7600 calculated at a speed of nearly 40 megaflops. Seymour Cray designed this computer, as well as its predecessor, the 6600 that was popular with scientific researchers, and a successor, the 8600, which the company never marketed.
John Warner Backus is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1949 he graduated from Columbia University and immediately joined IBM as a programmer. Backus led a team that created FORTRAN, the first successful high-level programming language which became commercially available in 1957. In 1959 he invented the Backus Naur Form (BNF), a standard notation to describe the syntax of a high level programming language. His third major contribution to computer science was to develop a functional programming language called FP, which advocates a mathematical approach to programming. Backus received the IEEE Computer Society Pioneer Award in 1980, and in 1994 was awarded the National Academy of Engineers’ Draper Award.