The programming languages FORTRAN and LISP were first developed for the 704, as was the SAP assembler—Symbolic Assembly Program, later distributed by SHARE as SHARE Assembly Program.
MUSIC, the first computer music program, was developed on the IBM 704 by Max Mathews.
In 1962 physicist John Larry Kelly, Jr created one of the most famous moments in the history of Bell Labs by using an IBM 704 computer to synthesize speech. Kelly's voice recorder synthesizer vocoder recreated the song Daisy Bell, with musical accompaniment from Max Mathews. Arthur C. Clarke was coincidentally visiting friend and colleague John Pierce at the Bell Labs Murray Hill facility at the time of this speech synthesis demonstration, and Clarke was so impressed that six years later he used it in the climactic scene of his novel and screenplay for 2001: A Space Odyssey, where the HAL 9000 computer sings the same song.
Edward O. Thorp, a math instructor at MIT, used the IBM 704 as a research tool to investigate the probabilities of winning while developing his blackjack gaming theory. He used FORTRAN to formulate the equations of his research model.
The IBM 704 at the MIT Computation Center was used as the official tracker for the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Operation Moonwatch in the fall of 1957. IBM provided four staff scientists to aid Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory scientists and mathematicians in the calculation of satellite orbits: Dr.
Giampiero Rossoni, Dr. John Greenstadt, Thomas Apple and Richard Hatch.