Dartmouth University faculty, students, and national experts today will give a series of presentations as part of a conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code (BASIC) computing language and time-sharing computing being developed at Dartmouth.
BASIC was developed by former Dartmouth mathematics professor John Kemeny and then student programmer Thomas Kurtz, and quickly gained popularity for its accessibility and ease of use.
The conference will begin with the premiere of a documentary on the history of BASIC and it will end with a panel of experts discussing where they think computing will be in another 50 years.
The use and proliferation of BASIC had an observable effect on Dartmouth students at the time, says former Dartmouth student John McGeachie. "I think the impact was to prove that ordinary people could use computers," McGeachie says. "Very quickly, high school students were using it."
The innovations created using BASIC and time-sharing computing paved the way for people to interact with computers, says Dartmouth computer science department chair Tom Cormen. "No one had a computer," Cormen says. "Just the idea that you would have access was hilarious."
From The Dartmouth
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