C was originally developed at Bell Labs by Dennis Ritchie, between 1972 and 1973. It was created to make utilities running on Unix. Later, it was applied to re-implementing the kernel of the Unix operating system. During the 1980s, C gradually gained popularity. Nowadays, it is one of the most widely used programming languages, with C compilers from various vendors available for the majority of existing computer architectures and operating systems. C has been standardized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) since 1989 (see ANSI C) and subsequently by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
C is an imperative procedural language. It was designed to be compiled using a relatively straightforward compiler, to provide low-level access to memory, to provide language constructs that map efficiently to machine instructions, and to require minimal runtime support. Despite its low-level capabilities, the language was designed to encourage cross-platform programming. A standards-compliant C program that is written with portability in mind can be compiled for a wide variety of computer platforms and operating systems with few changes to its source code; the language has become available on various platforms.