Ken Thompson

Computer Science Pioneer

In the 1960s and ‘70s, Ken Thompson, along with Dennis Ritchie, coinvented the Unix operating system at Bell Telephone Laboratories. Thompson also worked on the B programming language, the 1980 world computer chess champion computer, “Belle,” the Plan 9 operating system, and the open-source programming language Go. In 1983, he and Ritchie won the ACM Turing Award and in 1997 became CHM Fellow. Thompson and Ritchie’s Unix work inspired the Linux operating system, which now powers much of the modern world—from smartphones to supercomputers.

Ken was honored as a 1997 Fellow honoree for his cocreation of the UNIX operating system, and for development of the C programming language. Learn more here


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