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FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation) was first used in 1957. It was a popular programming language designed specifically to solve scientific, mathematical and engineering problems. Its development started in 1954 with John Backus and some IBM designers. It was first featured with IBM 704 computers.

For several years, FORTRAN was the only high level language available and the only alternative to machine-level or assembly language programming.

FORTRAN was the first programming language Bill Gates used in his high school years. His school wanted him to write a class scheduling program on a Digital computer. Bill wrote it in FORTRAN, and designed a special version to put him in classes with no other boys and all the girls he thought were cute!

After BASIC interpreter, FORTRAN was the second software sold by the new Microsoft Company. It was partly written by Bill Gates and ran under the CP/M operating system. The high quality of the software and its documentation placed Microsoft among the first serious suppliers in an emergent professional software industry.

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