John Backus

1924 - 2007

John Backus

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 301,270 page views. His biography is available in 42 different languages on Wikipedia making him the 21st most popular computer scientist.

Memorability Metrics

  • 300k

    Page Views (PV)

  • 57.32

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 42

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 6.28

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 3.76

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

Page views of John Backuses by language


Among computer scientists, John Backus ranks 20 out of 187Before him are Ray Kurzweil, Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Ken Thompson, Vint Cerf, Alan Kay, and George Dantzig. After him are Larry Page, Dorothy Vaughan, Ivan Sutherland, Sergey Brin, J. C. R. Licklider, and Gabe Newell.

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Among people born in 1924, John Backus ranks 74Before him are Eva Marie Saint, Madame Nhu, Ahmadou Ahidjo, John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, Machiko Kyō, and Lee Iacocca. After him are David Bronstein, André Franquin, Kenneth Kaunda, Antoni Ramallets, Tengiz Abuladze, and Torsten Wiesel. Among people deceased in 2007, John Backus ranks 54Before him are Atle Selberg, Mary Douglas, Sol LeWitt, Hrant Dink, Ira Levin, and Rudolf Arnheim. After him are Jean-Marie Lustiger, Ike Turner, Bob Denard, Lady Bird Johnson, Magda Szabó, and Arawa Kimura.

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In United States

Among people born in United States, John Backus ranks 1,559 out of 12,171Before him are Lil Wayne (1982), Gene Vincent (1935), Chris Evans (1981), Isamu Noguchi (1904), Woody Guthrie (1912), and Robert J. Flaherty (1884). After him are Jack Black (1969), Leo McCarey (1898), Bess Truman (1885), Cindy Crawford (1966), Brian Dennehy (1938), and Hattie McDaniel (1893).


Among computer scientists born in United States, John Backus ranks 13Before him are Ray Kurzweil (1948), Andrew S. Tanenbaum (1944), Ken Thompson (1943), Vint Cerf (1943), Alan Kay (1940), and George Dantzig (1914). After him are Larry Page (1973), Dorothy Vaughan (1910), Ivan Sutherland (1938), J. C. R. Licklider (1915), Gabe Newell (1962), and Ward Cunningham (1949).

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