Kenneth Iverson Computer hardware and software

Invented the APL computer programming language

The Story

Iverson grew up on a farm in Alberta and like many farm kids he had to drop out of school to work. He was in the Royal Canadian air force during the war, and did not go to university until afterwards. He became Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics 1955-1960 at Harvard. He developed a new notation for operations on numeric arrays and IBM created an interpreter to execute expressions in Iverson’s notation. He joined IBM and in 1962 published a description of his notation in A Programming Language (APL). This language challenges conventional algebraic syntax but is compact, simple and easy to learn. Recently, and up until his death Iverson began and worked on the Jay Language. Iverson wrote a book called Math for the Layman. In 1970 Iverson was named an IBM Fellow.

The Person

Birthdate
December 17, 1920
Birthplace
Camrose, Alberta
Date of Death
October 19, 2004
Place of Death
Toronto, Ontario
Residence
Toronto
Other Interests
Life Long Learning
Title
Computer Scientist
Office
I.P. Sharp Associates, Toronto, Ontario
Status
Deceased
Degrees
  • BA (mathematics) Queen’s University, Ontario
  • PhD Harvard University, 1954
Awards
  • AFIPS Harry Goode Award, 1975
  • ACM Turing Award, 1979
  • IEEE Computer Pioneer Award, 1982
  • National Medal of Technology, 1991
Mentor
Howard Aiken at Harvard
Last Updated
October 24, 2004
Popularity
29984
Profile viewed 29984 times

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