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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