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Definition: BASIC


(Beginners All purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) A programming language developed by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz in the mid-1960s at Dartmouth College. Originally developed as an interactive timesharing language for mainframes, BASIC was widely used on the first personal computers. Microsoft's BASIC helped make the Altair the first commercial success of an assemble-it-yourself microcomputer (see Altair). See timesharing, Business Basic and Visual Basic.

Compiler and Interpreter
BASIC is available in both compiler and interpreter form. As an interpreter, the language is conversational and can be debugged a line at a time. It can also be used as a quick calculator.

BASIC is considered one of the easiest programming languages to learn, and simple programs can be quickly written on the fly. The following BASIC example converts Fahrenheit to Celsius:

    10 INPUT "Enter Fahrenheit "; FAHR
    20 PRINT "Celsius is ", (FAHR-32) * 5 / 9