In the early 1960s, the world was dominated by Fortran (IBM's John Backus) for scientific and Cobol (IBM's Jean Summet and Department of Defense) for commercial use. Programs were written on paper, then perforated on cards, after which the results of their execution were waited for the whole day. Programming languages were considered important assistants and accelerators of the programming process.
In 1960, an international committee published the Algol 601 language specification. For the first time, a language was defined by well-defined constructs and a precise, formal syntax. Two years later, it became clear that some fixes and improvements were required. However, the main task was to expand the range of applications, since ALGOL 60 was intended only for scientific computing (computational mathematics). To work on this project, a Working Group (WG 2.1) was assembled under the auspices of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).