First BASIC program runs

1st May 1964
First BASIC program runs

At 4am on 1st May 1964, a General Electric GE-225 mainframe at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA ran the first program in a new language called BASIC.

BASIC stood for Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, and was designed by mathematicians John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz to make computing more accessible. Other programming languages of the time were much more complicated to learn and use. BASIC was simple to learn, but still powerful enough to be useful.

BASIC was very popular, and became the standard programming language for nearly all the home microcomputers of the 1970s and 1980s. The first microcomputer version of BASIC was developed by Bill Gates and Paul Allen for the Altair 8800.

Related information:


  • BASIC creators Thomas Kurtz (left) and John Kemeny in the mid-1980s, showing True BASIC running on a Mac and an IBM PC.
    Credit: Dartmouth College

Related Items in the Collection:





First BASIC program runs

Click on the Images
For Detail


Help support the museum by buying from the museum shop

View all items

Founding Sponsors
redgate Google ARM Real VNC Microsoft Research
Heritage Lottery Funded
Heritage Lottery Fund
Accredited Museum