Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ken Thompson biography

Kenneth Lane Thompson (born February 4, 1943), commonly referred to as ken in hacker circles is an American pioneer of computer science.Kenneth Lane Thompson was the principal inventor of UNIX. Even today, more than 35 years later, UNIX and its descendants are still widely regarded as the best computer operating systems to have ever been developed.He received a Bachelor of Science in 1965 and a master's degree in 1966, both in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, from the University of California, Berkeley, where his master's thesis advisor was Elwyn Berlekamp.Having worked at Bell Labs for most of his career.Thompson designed and implemented the original Unix operating system.In the 1960s, Thompson and Dennis Ritchie worked on the Multics operating system. While writing Multics, Thompson created the Bon programming language. The two left the Multics project when Bell Labs withdrew from it, but they used the experience from the project, and in 1969, Thompson and Ritchie became the principal creators of the Unix operating system.Thompson decided that Unix needed a system programming language and created B, a precursor to Ritchie's C language.Thompson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1980 for designing UNIX, an operating system whose efficiency, breadth, power, and style have guided a generation's exploitation of minicomputers.

Lessons we learn from Ken Thompson

Thompson, like Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux, is another example of history being shaped by the right person being ready at the right time.It is also an example of how a single person with an idea and dedication can accomplish something that eludes large organizations with huge concentrations of talent and massive budgets.He created great works not with any intention for personal profit but rather because of their dedication to their craft and their desire to improve it, with the result that the world is also improved.


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