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The Birth of BASIC

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The Birth of BASIC

Post by Brian »

The Birth of BASIC

This video chronicles the development of BASIC, a programming language designed to be accessible to the masses. The historic significance of this event lies in its democratization of computing, making it possible for anyone, not just mathematicians and scientists to interact with computers. The key players in this story include:

John Kemeny: A Hungarian-born mathematician who envisioned a world where everyone could use computers. He recruited talented individuals like Thomas Kurtz and his team of undergraduate students at Dartmouth College to make his vision a reality.

Thomas Kurtz: A computer scientist who, along with Kemeny, is credited with creating BASIC. He led the team of undergraduate students who built the Dartmouth Time Sharing System (DTSS), which allowed multiple users to access a single computer simultaneously and developed the BASIC programming language.

The Dartmouth undergraduate students: A team of talented individuals who played a crucial role in the development of both the DTSS and BASIC. They worked tirelessly to write code, debug systems and test functionalities, ultimately contributing significantly to the success of the project.

The video highlights several key events that mark the historic significance of this project:

1950s: John Kemeny arrives at Dartmouth and sets out to revolutionize the mathematics department. He envisions a curriculum where computers are not just research tools but accessible to all students.

1960s: The Dartmouth Time Sharing System (DTSS) is developed, allowing multiple users to access a single computer through terminals. This makes computing more accessible and lays the foundation for BASIC.

1964: BASIC is created as a user-friendly programming language that allows people with no prior coding experience to interact with computers. This marks a significant shift in the accessibility of computing.

1970s and beyond: BASIC gains widespread popularity in schools, businesses and homes, becoming one of the most widely used programming languages in the world. It paves the way for future user-friendly languages and contributes to the rise of personal computing.

The video emphasizes the transformative nature of this project, highlighting how BASIC empowered individuals and democratized access to technology. It serves as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation and a vision for a more inclusive technological future.
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