“At the time,” writes Andy Patrizio for Network World, “computers were highly serial. You loaded punch cards and waited your turn to run the application. That was known as batch processing. As computers matured from vacuum tubes to silicon semiconductors, they became more powerful and gained the ability to run multiple programs at once.
“Kemeny wanted a language that would allow people to write their own programs and execute at the same time. Kemeny and a programming student both ran a program at the same time written in Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, and both got their responses back. BASIC was born.”
Read the full story, published 4/10/14 by Network World.