Genesis of COBOL

April 8, 1959

Mary Hawes, a computer scientist for the Burroughs Corporation holds a meeting of computers users, manufacturers, and academics at the University of Pennsylvania for the purpose of creating a common business oriented programming language. At the meeting, representative Grace Hopper suggested that they ask the Department of Defense to fund the effort to create such a language. Also attending was Charles Phillips who was director of the Data System Research Staff at the DoD and was excited by the possibility of a common language streamlining their operations. He agreed to sponsor the creation of such a language. This was the genesis of what would eventually become the COBOL language. To this day COBOL is still the most common programming language used in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments, primarily on mainframe systems with around 200 billion lines of code still in production use.