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Dennis Ritchie PDF Print E-mail
Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie is well known as the creator of the C programming language. C served as the foundation of the UNIX operating system which was developed at AT&T's Bell Labs by Ken Thompson with assistance from Ritchie and other. Dennis M. Ritchie was born September 9, 1941 in Bronxville, New York. He received his Bachelor's and advanced degrees at Harvard University. As a student his interests were Physics and later on Applied Mathematics. His experiences at Harvard made Ritchie believe that he was not smart enough to be a physicist. He also admitted that he was not smart enough to be an expert in the theory of algorithms. However he thought that computers were quite neat and he liked procedural languages better than functional ones.
In 1967 Ritchie joined Bell Labs, just like his father Alistair E. Ritchie had done before him. Working at Bell Labs he got involved with the Multics project, which could be called the predecessor of UNIX. At least it was their experience with this project that led to many of the concepts and ideas that Ken Thompson and Ritchie would want to see in an operation system. When Thompson first started to work on UNIX he used his own programming language he had named B. Adding data types and new syntax elements to this language Ritchie created C. The early versions of UNIX were mostly used internally by Bell Labs. The first version that was distributed commercially was the Seventh Edition known as Unix System V. The C programming language was a key factor for UNIX's success, because it made the OS portable to other systems, as soon as a C compiler was available on the target platform. Also a vast amount of applications were and still are written in C and its object oriented successor C++. C was even standardized by ANSI and ISO.

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Donald Watts Davies PDF Print E-mail
Donald Watts Davies

Donald Watts Davies, CBE FRS (7 June 1924 – 28 May 2000) was a Welsh computer scientist who was one of the inventors of packet switching computer networking, and originator of the term. Davies was born in Treorchy in the Rhondda Valley, Wales. His father, a clerk at a coalmine, died a few months later, and his mother took Donald and his twin sister back to her home town of Portsmouth, where he went to school. He received a BSc degree in physics (1943) at Imperial College London, and then joined the war effort working as an assistant to Klaus Fuchs on the nuclear weapons Tube Alloys project at Birmingham University. He then returned to Imperial taking a first class degree in mathematics (1947); he was also awarded the Lubbock memorial Prize as the outstanding mathematician of his year. In 1955, he married Diane Burton; they had a daughter and two sons. From 1947, he worked at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) where Alan Turing was designing the Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) computer. It is said that Davies spotted mistakes in Turing's seminal 1936 paper On Computable Numbers, much to Turing's annoyance. These were perhaps some of the first "programming" errors in existence, even if they were for a theoretical computer, the universal Turing machine. The ACE project was overambitious and foundered, leading to Turing's departure. Davies took the project over and concentrated on delivering the less ambitious Pilot ACE computer, which first worked in May 1950. A commercial spin-off, DEUCE was manufactured by English and became one of the best-selling machines of the 1950s.

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Kenneth Lane Thompson PDF Print E-mail
Kenneth Lane Thompson

Kenneth Lane Thompson studied programming languages, operating systems, and computer games. He was one of the inventors of the UNIX operating system; perhaps the most widely used computer system in the world. He also invented the C programming language and co-developed several chess-playing machines. UNIX is well known for its simplicity, generality, and portability. Thompson conceived of the system in the late 1960s, and together with Dennis Ritchie, a colleague working with him at Bell Laboratories, developed UNIX as an alternative to the old batch programming systems that dominated the industry at the time. Although Thompson created UNIX while working at Bell Labs, the system was developed independently by the two programmers. It was very unusual because it was not commercially marketed like other systems. Instead UNIX gained in popularity through a network of researchers long before it was released commercially, and it has had one of the longest gestation periods of any computer program. UNIX is now believed to be one of the most widely used systems in the world, supporting over twenty million dollars of equipment.
Kenneth Thompson was born on February 4, 1943 in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Lewis Elwood Thompson, a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, and Anna Hazel Lane Thompson. He majored in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, also working at the computer center as well as participating in a work-study program at the General Dynamics Corporation. Thompson received his B.S. in electrical engineering in 1965 and his M.S. in electrical engineering in 1966, both from Berkeley.

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Grace Murray Hopper PDF Print E-mail
Grace Murray Hopper

Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Murray Hopper was a remarkable woman who grandly rose to the challenges of programming the first computers. During her lifetime as a leader in the field of software development concepts, she contributed to the transition from primitive programming techniques to the use of sophisticated compilers. She believed that "we've always done it that way" was not necessarily a good reason to continue to do so. Grace Brewster Murray was born on December 9, 1906 in New York City. In 1928 she graduated from Vassar College with a BA in mathematics and physics and joined the Vassar faculty. While an instructor at Vassar, she continued her studies in mathematics at Yale University, where she earned an MA in 1930 and a PhD in 1934. She was one of four women in a doctoral program of ten students, and her doctorate in mathematics was a rare accomplishment in its day.
In 1930 Grace Murray married Vincent Foster Hopper. (He died in 1945 during World War II, and they had no children.) She remained at Vassar as an associate professor until 1943, when she joined the United States Naval Reserve to assist her country in its wartime challenges. After USNR Midshipman's School-W, she was assigned to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University, where she worked at Harvard's Cruft Laboratories on the Mark series of computers. In 1946 Admiral Hopper resigned her leave of absence from Vassar to become a research fellow in engineering and applied physics at Harvard's Computation Laboratory. In 1949 she joined the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation as a Senior Mathematician. This group was purchased by Remington Rand in 1950, which in turn merged into the Sperry Corporation in 1955. Admiral Hopper took military leave from the Sperry Corporation from 1967 until her retirement in 1971.

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David Sifry PDF Print E-mail
David Sifry

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David Sifry is Founder and CEO of Technorati, a real-time search engine that keeps track of what is going on in the blogosphere — the world of weblogs. A serial entrepreneur with more than 19 nineteen years of software development and industry experience, before founding Technorati, Sifry was cofounder and CTO of Sputnik, a Wi-Fi gateway company. Before that, he cofounded Linuxcare, where he served as CTO and vice president of engineering. Sifry also served as a founding member of the board of Linux International and was on the technical advisory board of the National Cybercrime Training Partnership for law enforcement. He appears frequently on panels and lectures on a variety of technology issues, ranging from wireless spectrum policy and Wi-Fi, to weblogs and open-source software. Sifry earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science at Johns Hopkins University.

 

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