American computer scientist who helped develop Fortran, one of the first computer programming languages, for which he received the National Medal of Science in 1975. He also did important research in function-level programming, a different philosophy in programming language design.
He studied at an exclusive private high school in Pennsylvania, where he was fond of breaking its rules; he followed that up by flunking out of the University of Virginia.
His Fortran was the first computer language to take on a more human syntax, and so was comprehensible and the first widely used high-level language.
He grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of a wealthy stockbroker.
He built on the work of Konrad Kruze, who formed the foundations of the first programming language, to further deepen human-machine interface.