Dale - Computer Science Illuminated 389

Dale - Computer Science Illuminated 389 - John Backus John...

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John Backus was an aimless young man who pulled his act together and won the Turing Award. Born in 1924 into a wealthy Philadelphia family, he attended the presti- gious Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, where he repeatedly flunked out and had to attend summer school in order to continue. Finally graduating in 1942, he enrolled in and flunked out of the University of Virginia. In 1943 Backus joined the Army. After his first aptitude test the Army enrolled him in a pre-engineering program at the University of Pittsburgh. Another aptitude test sent him to Havor- ford College to study medicine. As part of the premed program, he worked in a neurosurgery ward at an Atlantic City hospital. While there he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and a plate was installed in his head. After nine months of medical school, he decided that medicine wasn’t for him, after all. He was at loose ends in 1946, after leaving the army and having an additional operation to replace the plate in his head. When he couldn’t find the hi-fi
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2011 for the course CSE 1550 taught by Professor Marianakant during the Fall '10 term at York University.

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