The Birthplaces of Programming Languages


Join me on a giant geeky global world tour as we discover the birthplaces of various popular programming languages, from Java to Ruby and Amsterdam to Qeqertarsuaq.

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Updated 4 years ago

Sand Hill Road

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Fremont, United States • Wishlist • 

The Java programming language was developed in 1992 by James Gosling for Sun Microsystem. He was part of a team called the Green Team working on software for set top boxes and smart applicances. Gosling originally called the language Oak after a tree outside his window on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, but due to a trademark dispute it was changed to Java in 1994. The road is well known today for hosting many of Silicon Valley's most famous venture capital firms.

  • Sand Hill Rd, Portola Valley, CA, USA

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Nokia Bell Labs

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Elizabeth, United States • Recommendation • 

The C language was invented by Dennis Ritchie between 1971 and 1973 at Bell Labs based on an earlier language called B. The campus is also home to an anechoic chamber, which was once listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the quietest place on earth. You can also see the first ever transistor, invented here! Bjarne Stroustrup later developed C++ while working at Bell Labs.

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Amsterdam, Netherlands • Wishlist • 

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, or the National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam is the birthplace of Python, which was created here in the late 1980s by Guido van Rossum. The institute has many other notable alumni, including Edsger Dijkstra, who created an efficient algorithm for finding the shortest path in a network, which is useful for apps like this! The institute's domain name, was the first national domain name ever to be issued.

  • CWI, 1012 WX Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Dartmouth College

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Manchester, United States • Wishlist • 

John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz were the designers of the original BASIC language at Dartmouth College. They aimed to increase programming literacy amongst students but found that existing languages were hard for students to grasp. Kemeny later said "Our vision was that every student on campus should have access to a computer, and any faculty member should be able to use a computer in the classroom whenever appropriate."

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San Jose, United States • Recommendation • 

The offices at 350 Ellis Street are currently home to Symantec, but were originally the location of early web giants Netscape. It was here that Javascript was famously written as a prototype in 10 days by Brendan Eich for the company, who wanted to add a scripting language into their browser Netscape Navigator in 1995, to compete with Microsoft. It was originally known as Mocha, later LiveScript and then JavaScript.

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Qeqertarsuaq Island

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Nuuk, Greenland • Wishlist • 

OK the language PHP wasn't actually invented here, but I just had to find a way to get the wonderful name Qeqertarsuaq into my list. Qeqertarsuaq is the birthplace of Rasmus Lerdorf, the creator of PHP. He later moved to Canada, and wrote a number of CGI programs to help maintain his personal homepage which he called Personal Home Page/Forms Interpreter (PHP/PI).

  • Qeqertarsuaq Island, Greenland

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil • Wishlist • 

Lua was invented in 1993 at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro by Roberto Ierusalimschy, Luiz Henrique de Figueiredo, and Waldemar Celes. Trade barriers made it difficult to import software from abroad, so members of the Computer Graphics Technology Group at the university had to make tools from scratch. Lua is the Portugese word for moon, named as it borrowed syntax from an earlier language SOL (Simple Object Language), Sol being the Portugese word for sun!

  • +55 21 3527 1001
  • R. Marquês de São Vicente, 225 - Gávea, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 22451-900, Brazil

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University of Tsukuba Tsukuba Campus

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Tsukuba, Japan • Wishlist • 

Yukihiro Matsumoto, popularly known as Matz, started developing the Ruby language after working in Ikuo Nakata’s research lab on programming languages at this university in Ibaraki. His constructive attitude in the Ruby community led to a popular motto for Ruby developers: MINASWAN “Matz is nice and so we are nice”.

  • +81 29 853 2111
  • 1 Chome-1−1 Tennōdai, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki-ken 305-8577, Japan

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