A New York Times article reported that:
"John W. Backus, who assembled and led the IBM team that created Fortran, the first widely used programming language, which helped open the door to modern computing, died on Saturday at his home in Ashland, Ore. He was 82."
You can see his biography here. He was one of my personal heroes, a truly inspiring figure.
"Innovation," Mr. Backus said, "was a constant process of trial and error."
“You need the willingness to fail all the time,” he said. “You have to generate many ideas and then you have to work very hard only to discover that they don’t work. And you keep doing that over and over until you find one that does work.”