HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth College is going back to BASIC — the computer programming language invented at the Ivy League school 50 years ago.
Short for Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, BASIC was the brainchild of two Dartmouth mathematicians, Thomas Kurtz and John Kemeny.
At 4 a.m. on May 1, 1964, Kemeny and a student programmer simultaneously typed “RUN” on neighboring terminals, executing the first commands of what would become the world’s most widely-used computer language. The professors also developed Dartmouth’s timesharing system, allowing more than one person to work on a comptuer at a time.
The college is marking the anniversary Wednesday with several events, including the public premiere of a documentary. Kurtz and the students who helped develop BASIC also will discuss its beginnings and the future of computing.