Codes That Changed The World


01Fortran20150406The history of computing is dominated by the hardware; the race for speed and power has overshadowed how we've devised ways to instruct these machines to do useful tasks.

In this 5 part series Aleks Krotoski tells the story of the languages we've used to talk to the machines. FORTRAN is the oldest of what are called high level languages and marked a revolution in computing. With its invention programmers no longer had to work at the level of the machine in ones and zeroes but could talk in terms of the problem they wanted solved. And those problems were the calculations that allowed everything from the space race to nuclear power to become a reality.


Inefficient, verbose and ugly, yet by the 1990s, 80 per cent of the world's business software was written in Cobol. Aleks Krotoski explores why.


Basic is the little language that could. As language of choice for home computing in the 1980s, it became iconic.

04Java20150409Aleks Krotoski introduces the programming language that people probably interact with on a daily basis more than any other.

05 LASTThe Tower Of Babel20150410

Today's digital world is a reverse tower of Babel. It takes all sorts of different languages to build it. It is this phenomenon that Aleks Krotoski explores in this final edition.