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John Kemeny: 1926-1992

In the Fall of 1964, the Dartmouth Time Sharing System became operational with BASIC (Beginner's All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) as the principle language for student program development. The effort to develop BASIC was led by John Kemeny and Tom Kurtz, together with lots of help from undergraduates.


Kemeny was once Albert Einstein's research assistant and later president of Dartmouth College.


He was also chairman of the commission that investigated the Three Mile Island accident.


A major effort to expand the use of BASIC was led by Paul Allen and William Gates in 1975. This cooperation on the development of a BASIC language for the Altair personal computer paved the way for the Microsoft Corporation to become a major player in computer software.