Previous posts in this discussion:
PostJohn Kemeny and BASIC (Henry Levin, USA, 02/04/14 9:33 am)
John Kemeny was truly brilliant. (See David Duggan's post of 4 February, together with JE's comments.) He was not only a distinguished mathematician, but the developer of BASIC, a simple programming language which took over high schools in the late seventies and early eighties (as I recall). This language was a great entry point for high school students. It was easy to learn and powerful and generated enthusiasm among high school students. The problem was that it developed programming skills, habits, and thinking that reduced proficiency in learning the standard languages at the time that were more advanced such as C++. At Stanford we had many students who had received Advanced Placement in Programming from their high school classes, but the Computer Science department still required that they begin with the Introduction to Computing Course because of problems of previous students with BASIC who had challenges in C++. I don't know if BASIC is still used at any level.
JE comments: I've also been curious if BASIC is still used. The first-generation MacIntosh, introduced exactly 30 years ago, rendered computing languages irrelevant--or at least invisible--for everyone but the specialists.
Regarding Dr. Kemeny, I found these WAIS postings from fellow Hungarian mathematicians Istvan Simon (27 April 2009) and the late Steve Torok (28 April 2009):
BASIC and Visual BASIC
(Jordi Molins, Spain
02/05/14 3:08 AM)
Henry Levin (4 February) asked if BASIC is still used at any level.
BASIC is not among the most popular programming languages, with Python, Java and C++ taking the lead:
However, I believe there is a lot of Visual Basic legacy code as Excel scripts (the so-called VBA), especially within the corporate/banking world.
Even though I learned to program with BASIC, there is no reason to use it as a programming language unless you are forced to manage legacy code. Python as a generalist language, and R as a scientific programming language, are infinitely better suited for anything else.
JE comments: Python, according to the link above, is by far the most common programming language in use today. The R language, specifically suited for statistical computing and graphics, was designed by Ross Ihaka and Robert Gentleman. That's where the "R" comes from, I presume. Here's a (to my brain, cryptic) primer: