While the name Backus may not be familiar to today's computer "geeks", he was among those that made "modern" computers what they are today. Prior to his development of FORTRAN there were no high level programming languages for computers. All coding was done at the machine level, strings of zeros and ones, pain stakingly entered and checked to make the "program" run. Backus once said the only reason he developed FORTRAN was that he was lazy. As a programmer for IBM he was on a team doing calculations for missile trajectories and later on calculations for lunar trajectories. Each time they needed to change the program it was long involved process to change the program and re-enter it into the computer. FORTRAN was the first (and some old timers insist the best) of the high level languages.