Thomas E. Kurtz

Thomas Eugene Kurtz ( born 1928 in Oak Park, Illinois) is an American mathematician and computer scientist. He is best known as co-developer of the BASIC programming language.

Kurtz was educated at Knox College with a bachelor's degree and a doctorate in 1956 from Princeton University with John W. Tukey (An extension of multiple comparisons procedure ). At Dartmouth College, where he was since 1956, he developed 1963/64, along with John G. Kemeny, among other BASIC programming language for their students ( they wrote the first version in 1964 and the first programs were running on 1 May on the computers in Dartmouth ). In addition, both developed in the same period the Time Sharing System, Dartmouth.

1966 to 1975 he was director of Kiewit data center in Dartmouth and 1975 to 1978 he headed the Office of Academic Computing. 1980 to 1988 he headed the computer science graduate program at Dartmouth (Computer and Information Systems Program). Thereafter, he focused again on the teaching as a professor of mathematics.

In 1983 he founded the company with Kemeny True BASIC, which drove an advanced BASIC variant (now Bill Gates had a BASIC interpreter written in Microsoft for the personal computer market).

In 1991 he received the Computer Pioneer Award. In 1994 he became a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.


  • With John G. Kemeny: Basic Programming. Wiley, 1967; 1980
  • Basic Statistics. Prentice Hall, 1963
  • With John G. Kemeny: Basic Structured Programming. Wiley, 1987
  • With John G. Kemeny and J. Laurie Snell: Computing for a course in finite mathematics. Longman Higher Education, 1985