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EN | Personajes ilustres – Ritchie

Ritchie, Dennis (1941 - )

Dennis Ritchie, the creator of the Unix operating system and C language, was born on 9 September 1941 in Bronxville, New York.

He studied physics and mathematics at Harvard University where he earned his PhD in 1968.

In 1967, Ritchie began working at Bell Labs, where his father, Alistair E. Ritchie, had already had a long career. In those days, the company’s official name was Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc, renamed Bell Laboratories in 1984.

The first project on which he worked after joining the company was Multics. Multics was a joint venture between Bell Labs, MIT and General Electric. He developed a BCPL language compiler for the Multics machine (GE 645) and the GE 635 running the GECOS system. He also wrote the compiler for ALTRAN, a symbolic computation language.

Later, he helped Ken Thompson develop the Unix operating system development, the first version of which was compiled in 1970. Together with Steve Johnson, he then ported Unix to Interdata 8/32, demonstrating its portability. From that point onwards, Unix really took off and the Seventh Edition Unix by the research group at Bell Labs laid the groundwork for the commercial Unix System V and BSD Unix distributions by the University of California at Berkeley. Ritchie’s last major contribution to Unix was the streams mechanism to interconnect devices, protocols and applications.

In 1972, he and Thompson created the C language by adding new data types and syntax to Thompson’s B language. C was the groundwork for Unix portability, but has been used in many other contexts since. C standardization laid the foundations for Bjarne Stroustrup to develop an object-oriented extension of the C language, C++ at Bell Labs in 1983.

Today, Ritchie still works at the Computing Sciences Research Center at Bell Labs, where he leads a research group promoting the development of distributed operating systems. This team developed the Plan 9 operating system in 1995 system and the Inferno Operating System in 1996.

Dennis Ritchie has been awarded several prizes, including:

· IEEE Emmanuel Piore Award (1982)
· Bell Laboratories Fellow (1983)
· Association for Computing Machinery Turing Award (1983)
· ACM Software Systems Award (1983)
· C&C Foundation award of NEC (1989)
· IEEE Hamming Medal (1990)
· Miembro de la U. S. National Academy of Engineering (1988)
· Medalla Nacional de Tecnología (1999)