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Which was the first computer language?

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aplewis | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted September 30, 2010 at 3:05 PM via web

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Which was the first computer language?

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 30, 2010 at 3:33 PM (Answer #1)

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I believe the computer language you are looking for in this answer is called FORTRAN.  This was really the first high level programming language, invented by scientists and mathematicians in the 1950s working for International Business Machines (IBM).

FORTRAN's name comes from The IBM Mathematical Formula Translating System. A man anmed John W. Backus was credited with the original idea and proposal, though people didn't think it was practical until they really started to develop the idea as a team.  The first computer to use this language was not launched until 1957.

It was also the first computer language that operated on a number of computing platforms, sort of a very primitive, early forerunner of Bill Gates' MS-DOS.

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krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted September 30, 2010 at 4:43 PM (Answer #2)

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Computer language, or, more correctly, computer programming language are systems of notations and instructions used to instruct or program a computer to perform the operations it is required to perform. The programming languages are classified as fist generation (1G), Second generation (2G) and third Generation (3G) according to the extent of detailed instructions required to be specified. 1G languages, also called machine languages, were the first ones to be developed that specified detailed operation to be performed by the machine. Such programming languages were specific to each type of computer. Such languages, developed in early 1950,s were used by earliest computers like UNIVAC I.

The Machine languages were very cumbersome to use, as each operation by the computer had to be specified in great detail. To make things easier, the 2G languages were developed later in 1950's 1950's. These languages called assemblers or assembly language, that included facility to specify operations using mnemonics and micro instructions. These languages were also machine specific. The computer itself was programmed to convert the program written in these languages to machine language.

Finally, starting from late 1950's the 3G languages made it possible to specify the operations to be performed by computer  in terms of simple arithmetical formula, logic, or other simple words and phrases in English language. These included Languages such as FORTRAN and COBOL. These two names have been formed by shortening the phrases "formula translation" and "common business oriented language".

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