Kenneth Thompson Designer and Implementer of Unix Operating System

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Kenneth Thompson

Kenneth Lane Thompson designer and implementer of original UNIX Operating system, American computer science pioneer, inventor of B programing language, creator and early developer of Plan 9 operating system and the direct predecessor to the C programming language.

On February 4, 1943, Kenneth Thompson was born in New Orleans. In 1965 he received his Bachelor of Science and in 1966 he received his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Bell labs Hired Thompson. Thompson and Dennis Ritchie worked on the operating system called Multics. While working on Multics Project alternately Thompson created the Bon programming language. He also created Space Travel Video Game. Bell Labs withdrew from the Multics Project. To keep the game going Thompson rewrote Space Travel on an old PDP-7 machine. This PDP-7 machine developed by Kenneth Thompson eventually became Unix Operating System.

Related Topic: Dennis Ritchie Inventor of UNIX and C-Programing Language

A team led by Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, including Rudd Canaday developed the concept of Computer Processes, Device files, Hierarchical file system, command-line Interpreter, pipes for interprocess communication and small utility programs. In 1970 UNIX name was suggested by Brian Kernighan. On 3 November 1971, UNIX Operating System was officially released at Bell Labs.

Thompson retired from Bell Labs in late 2000. Until 2006 he worked at Entrisphere, Inc and later joined as a Distinguished Engineer at Google, where he co-invented the Go programming language.

 In 1980 Kenneth Lane Thompson got elected to the National Academy of Engineering for designing UNIX. In 1983, Kenneth Lane Thompson received Turning Award jointly with Ritchie for implementing UNIX operating system.

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