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John Backus

1924 - 2007

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John Warner Backus (December 3, 1924 – March 17, 2007) was an American computer scientist. He directed the team that invented and implemented FORTRAN, the first widely used high-level programming language, and was the inventor of the Backus–Naur form (BNF), a widely used notation to define formal language syntax. He later did research into the function-level programming paradigm, presenting his findings in his influential 1977 Turing Award lecture "Can Programming Be Liberated from the von Neumann Style?"The IEEE awarded Backus the W. W. McDowell Award in 1967 for the development of FORTRAN. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of John Backus has received more than 440,467 page views. His biography is available in 48 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 45 in 2019). John Backus is the 24th most popular computer scientist (down from 21st in 2019), the 1,697th most popular biography from United States (down from 1,606th in 2019) and the 15th most popular American Computer Scientist.

Memorability Metrics

  • 440k

    Page Views (PV)

  • 58.59

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 48

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 6.34

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 3.88

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

Page views of John Backuses by language


Among computer scientists, John Backus ranks 24 out of 201Before him are Ray Kurzweil, Ken Thompson, Dorothy Vaughan, Marvin Minsky, Guido van Rossum, and Alan Kay. After him are Ward Cunningham, Jef Raskin, Leonard Kleinrock, Kevin Mitnick, Tony Hoare, and Ivan Sutherland.

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Among people born in 1924, John Backus ranks 78Before him are Girma Wolde-Giorgis, Rauf Denktaş, Tomiichi Murayama, James Baldwin, Stanley Donen, and Kenneth Waltz. After him are Sverre Fehn, Rudolf Vrba, Jozef Tomko, Arthur Danto, Paul Desmond, and Kenneth Kaunda. Among people deceased in 2007, John Backus ranks 54Before him are Abbé Pierre, Colin McRae, Ian Smith, Robert Adler, Magda Szabó, and Sol LeWitt. After him are Norman Mailer, Taha Yassin Ramadan, Jupp Derwall, Anna Nicole Smith, Mary Douglas, and Jean-Pierre Vernant.

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In United States

Among people born in United States, John Backus ranks 1,697 out of 18,182Before him are Caroline Kennedy (1957), Eric Carr (1950), Joyce Carol Oates (1938), Chris Evans (1981), William Styron (1925), and Richard Serra (1939). After him are Charles Mingus (1922), Samuel R. Delany (1942), Robert E. Park (1864), Michael Dudikoff (1954), Tom Regan (1938), and Charles Eames (1907).


Among computer scientists born in United States, John Backus ranks 15Before him are Andrew S. Tanenbaum (1944), Ray Kurzweil (1948), Ken Thompson (1943), Dorothy Vaughan (1910), Marvin Minsky (1927), and Alan Kay (1940). After him are Ward Cunningham (1949), Jef Raskin (1943), Leonard Kleinrock (1934), Kevin Mitnick (1963), Ivan Sutherland (1938), and Barbara Liskov (1939).