John Backus
19242007
Backus was an
American
computer scientist.
He led the team that invented the first widely used
highlevel
programming language
(FORTRAN)
and was the inventor of the
BackusNaur form
(BNF), the almost universally used notation to define
formal language
syntax.
Backus–Naur Form (BNF)
is a
metasyntax used to express
contextfree grammars: that
is, a formal way to describe
formal languages.
John Backus and
Peter Naur developed a context free grammar to define the
syntax of a programming language by using two sets of rules: i.e.,
lexical rules and syntactic rules.
BNF is widely used as a
notation for the
grammars of computer
programming languages,
instruction sets and
communication protocols, as
well as a notation for representing parts of
natural language grammars. Many textbooks for programming
language theory and/or semantics document the programming language
in BNF.
He also did research in functionlevel programming and helped to popularize it. 

The
IEEE awarded
Backus the
W.W. McDowell Award
in 1967 for the development of FORTRAN. He received the
National Medal of Science
in 1975,] and the 1977
ACM Turing Award
“for profound, influential, and lasting contributions to the design of
practical highlevel programming systems, notably through his work on
FORTRAN, and for seminal publication of formal procedures for the
specification of programming languages. 