The HP 2000 system was designed to run time-shared BASIC as its primary task.
Commodore BASIC v2.0 on the Commodore 64
MSX BASIC version 3.0
"Train Basic every day!"—reads a poster (bottom center) in a Russian school (c. 1985–1986)
IBM Cassette BASIC 1.10
Three modern Basic variants: Mono Basic, Basic and Gambas
BASIC came to some video game systems, such as the Nintendo Famicom.

Family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages designed for ease of use.


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John G. Kemeny

Commemorative plaque to John George Kemeny. It is affixed to the wall of his former domicile.

John George Kemeny (born Kemény János György; May 31, 1926 – December 26, 1992) was a Hungarian-born American mathematician, computer scientist, and educator best known for co-developing the BASIC programming language in 1964 with Thomas E. Kurtz.

Microsoft BASIC

Foundation software product of the Microsoft company and evolved into a line of BASIC interpreters adapted for many different microcomputers.

A kit-build Altair 8800 computer with the popular Model 33 ASR (Automatic Send and Receive) Teletype as terminal, paper tape reader, and paper tape punch.

It first appeared in 1975 as Altair BASIC, which was the first version of BASIC published by Microsoft as well as the first high-level programming language available for the Altair 8800 microcomputer.

Home computer

Primarily about a certain class of personal computers from the late 1970s to mid-1980s.

Children playing Paperboy on an Amstrad CPC 464 in 1988
The often sprawling nature of a well-outfitted home computer is evident with this Tandy Color Computer 3
Mary Allen Wilkes working on the LINC at home in 1965; thought to be the first home computer user
A Commodore 64 system, showing the basic layout of a typical home computer system of the era. Pictured are the CPU/keyboard unit, floppy disk drive, and dedicated color monitor. Many systems also had a dot matrix printer for producing paper output.
Eastern Bloc computers were often significantly different in appearance from western computers. Pictured is a KC 85/3 with its keyboard placed on top, by VEB Mikroelektronik Mühlhausen released in 1986 and based on an East German Zilog Z80 clone.
The Soviet Electronika BK0010.01 home computer was based on the К1801ВМ1 (Soviet LSI-11-compatible CPU) and was, basically, a very stripped-down PDP-11.
The 1977 Apple II with two Disk II disk drives and an Apple monitor
No computer has sold more units than the Commodore 64.
The East German Robotron KC 85/1 was virtually not available for sale due to huge demand by industrial, educational, and military institutions.

Since most systems arrived with the BASIC programming language included on the system ROM, it was easy for users to get started creating their own simple applications.


General-purpose, compiled imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing.

The IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer installation in 2007 at the Argonne Leadership Angela Yang Computing Facility located in the Argonne National Laboratory, in Lemont, Illinois, USA.
An IBM 704 mainframe computer
The Fortran Automatic Coding System for the IBM 704 (15 October 1956), the first programmer's reference manual for Fortran
FORTRAN code on a punched card, showing the specialized uses of columns 1–5, 6 and 73–80
A reproduction of a FORTRAN coding form, printed on paper and intended to be used by programmers to prepare programs for punching onto cards by keypunch operators. Now obsolete.
FORTRAN-77 program with compiler output, written on a
CDC 175 at RWTH Aachen University, Germany, in 1987
4.3 BSD for the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) VAX, displaying the manual for FORTRAN 77 (f77) compiler
General relativistic magnetohydrodynamic Fortran simulation of black hole accretion using the BHAC code with cartesian adaptive mesh (
Velocity and sea surface temperature in the oceans, computed with the NEMO Fortran code (Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean, in the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (2020).

Among the better-known is BASIC, which is based on FORTRAN II with a number of syntax cleanups, notably better logical structures, and other changes to work more easily in an interactive environment.

HP 2100

Series of 16-bit minicomputers that were produced by Hewlett-Packard from the mid-1960s to early 1990s.

HP 1000 E-Series minicomputer with a 9895A dual 8-inch "flexible disc memory" drives.
HP 2115A Computer pictured without its power supply.
HP 2100 computer (upper left), shown with two 7970 tape drives, 7900-series hard disk, 2748 paper tape reader and a 2767A impact printer. The separate front-panel switches and lights were replaced with light-up pushbuttons, which had a tendency to burn out.
HP 2100A Computer
An HP 2647A graphics terminal connected to an HP 1000 E-Series machine.
HP Model 9830A desktop computer with optional Model 9866 thermal printer.

All of these models were also packaged as the HP 2000 series, combining a 2100-series machine with optional components in order to run the BASIC programming language in a multi-user time sharing fashion.

BASIC interpreter

An example of typing a popular program into a BASIC interpreter (in this case, HAMURABI)
The HP 2000 system was designed to run time-shared BASIC as its primary task.
Altair 8K BASIC on paper tape
Hello World, with inverse video and bell character, run then listed in Applesoft BASIC
BASIC came to some video game systems, such as the Nintendo Famicom.
Mobile BASIC for Android
Key combinations are used to enter BASIC keywords.
An example of external fragmentation
text block graphics set of the ZX-81

A BASIC interpreter is an interpreter that enables users to enter and run programs in the BASIC language and was, for the first part of the microcomputer era, the default application that computers would launch.


A paper tape containing the expanded 8k version of Micro-Soft BASIC.
The use of "Copyleft; All Wrongs Reserved" in 1976
The May 1977 issue featured a Floppy ROM containing MICRO-BASIC.

Tiny BASIC is a family of dialects of the BASIC programming language that can fit into 4 or fewer KBs of memory.

Thomas E. Kurtz

Retired Dartmouth professor of mathematics and computer scientist, who along with his colleague John G. Kemeny set in motion the then revolutionary concept of making computers as freely available to college students as library books were, by implementing the concept of time-sharing at Dartmouth College.

Dartmouth College
True Basic example

In his mission to allow non-expert users to interact with the computer, he co-developed the BASIC programming language (Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) and the Dartmouth Time Sharing System during 1963 to 1964.

General-purpose programming language

Programming language designed to be used for building software in a wide variety of application domains.

A diagram showing how the user interacts with application software on a typical desktop computer. The application software layer interfaces with the operating system, which in turn communicates with the hardware. The arrows indicate information flow.

Many specialized languages were also developed starting in the 1960s: GPSS and Simula for discrete event simulation; MAD, BASIC, Logo, and Pascal for teaching programming; C for systems programming; JOSS and APL\360 for interactive programming.

Dartmouth Time Sharing System

Discontinued operating system first developed at Dartmouth College between 1963 and 1964.

DTSS hardware schematic, October 1964
GE-235 We Sing Thy Praises
Honeywell GE 635 Computer Hardware architecture at Kiewit, early 1971
Kiewit Network, early 1971

It was the first successful large-scale time-sharing system to be implemented, and was also the system for which the BASIC language was developed.