The earliest electronic digital computers were designed and constructed for military or scientific purposes and were generally large, expensive, and designed for speed and reliability rather than ease of use. Programmers used numeric machine codes to communicate directly with the computer's hardware in order to achieve the high level of performance required by repetitive scientific computations. Since programming costs represented only a small percentage of the total cost of owning and operating these computers, and the amount of software development that occurred in this period was small, there was little incentive to develop expensive programming tools. The first widely used programming language, called FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator), and was developed by the IBM Corporation in response to the rising costs of software development. FORTRAN allowed programmers to describe their programs using relatively comprehensible algebraic expressions, rather than in cryptic assembly code. In 1957 the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) began work on a universal programming language called ALGOL (ALGOrithmic Language). In 1969 COBOL is introduced as a business oriented programming language. After this many programming language came in the market like BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), PASCAL etc. As the commercial computing industry expanded and new computer technologies developed, the needs of the programming community evolved accordingly. Ken Thompson (1943- ) and Denis Ritchie, two researchers at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New Jersey, created the C programming language on a DEC PDP-8 mini-computer. The UNIX operating system was written in C, the success of the one contributed to the adoption of the other. The C language and its successors (C+ and C++) are the most widely used programming languages for workstation and personal computer software development.

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