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 356,692 page views. His biography is available in 45 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 42 in 2019). John Backus is the 21st most popular computer scientist (down from 20th in 2019), the 1,607th most popular biography from United States (down from 1,559th in 2019) and the 14th most popular American Computer Scientist.

Memorability Metrics

  • 360k

    Page Views (PV)

  • 68.18

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 45

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 6.64

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 3.69

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

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Among computer scientists, John Backus ranks 21 out of 205Before him are Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Vint Cerf, George Dantzig, Larry Page, Alan Kay, and Marvin Minsky. After him are Sergey Brin, Leonard Kleinrock, Dorothy Vaughan, Maurice Wilkes, Larry Tesler, and J. C. R. Licklider.

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Among people born in 1924, John Backus ranks 75Before him are Kenneth Waltz, Roger Guillemin, Allan MacLeod Cormack, Lee Iacocca, Madame Nhu, and Khamtai Siphandon. After him are Ahmadou Ahidjo, André Franquin, Zizi Jeanmaire, Paul Desmond, Leonid Kogan, and Tomiichi Murayama. Among people deceased in 2007, John Backus ranks 54Before him are Jean-Claude Brialy, Gaston Thorn, André Gorz, Bob Denard, Lady Bird Johnson, and Rudolf Arnheim. After him are Marcheline Bertrand, Abbé Pierre, Khun Sa, Ira Levin, Alan MacDiarmid, and Magda Szabó.

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In United States

Among people born in United States, John Backus ranks 1,607 out of 15,968Before him are Jeffrey Dahmer (1960), William Standish Knowles (1917), Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897), Sam Loyd (1841), Charles G. Dawes (1865), and Ornette Coleman (1930). After him are Burt Bacharach (1928), Harold Ramis (1944), Grace Zabriskie (1941), Loretta Young (1913), Emilio Estevez (1962), and Woody Guthrie (1912).


Among computer scientists born in United States, John Backus ranks 14Before him are Andrew S. Tanenbaum (1944), Vint Cerf (1943), George Dantzig (1914), Larry Page (1973), Alan Kay (1940), and Marvin Minsky (1927). After him are Leonard Kleinrock (1934), Dorothy Vaughan (1910), Larry Tesler (1945), J. C. R. Licklider (1915), Ward Cunningham (1949), and Frances E. Allen (1932).