FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation) was designed by IBM, specifically for the IBM 704. The language was designed specifically for the scientific community, because of this it included floating point numbers and array indexing. FORTRAN is considered by many to be the first compiled language, but some people would debate this. Alick E Glennie wrote a compiler for Autocode on the Mark I in September of 1952, but this compiler was very low-level and machine oriented. In May 1953, Laning and Zierler wrote an algebraic translation system for the MIT Whirlwind, which is considered by some to be the first truly compiled language. However, FORTRAN is the first compiled language which was accepted and used widely.

There are several different versions of FORTRAN. The first, FORTRAN 1, was released in April of 1957. It included If statements, Do statements, integers, and floating point numbers. FORTRAN II was released in spring of 1958 and introduced independent compilation of subroutines. These were needed because hardware was not yet reliable at the time. Programmers found that they could not compile any program longer than 300-400 lines or a hardware failure would usually occur, and they would have to recompile everything again. FORTRAN IV was introduced in early 1962 and became the most widely used language in the scientific community until about 1978. FORTRAN 77 was released in 1977 and included string handling and If-Else statements. The latest version, FORTRAN 90, includes built in array operations, dynamic arrays, and pointers.

Source: "Concepts of Programming Languages" by Robert W. Sebesta, The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, Inc, 1993