Dennis Ritchie

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Dennis Ritchie at the 2011 Japan Prize ceremony
Ken Thompson (left) and Dennis Ritchie (right)

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie (born September 9, 1941 in Bronxville , New York , † before October 12, 2011 in Berkeley Heights , New Jersey ) was an American computer scientist . He developed along with Ken Thompson and others, the first version of Unix - the operating system and wrote the first six editions of the Unix Programmer's Manual before the manual in "Unix Time-Sharing System" has been renamed..

Along with Thompson and Brian W. Kernighan he developed the C programming language . Kernighan and Ritchie co-wrote the book The C Programming Language , which is often quoted as " K&R ". Well known and famous are his initials " dmr ", which Ritchie used as the username for the system login . For his work, in particular the development of the Unix operating system and the C language, which is still relevant today, he received some of the highest awards in computer science, such as the Turing Award .


Dennis Ritchie was born on September 9, 1941 to Alistair E. Ritchie. He studied physics and applied mathematics at Harvard University . In 1968 he was awarded a doctorate ( English Ph.D. ) by Harvard University for his dissertation Program Structure and Computational Complexity .

From 1967 Ritchie worked in the Bell Telephone Laboratories (short "Bell Labs") in the Computing Sciences Research Center . He dealt with Multics , BCPL , ALTRAN and finally with the programming languages B and C as well as the Unix and Plan 9 operating systems . Most recently, he was the head of the research department for systems software at Lucent Technologies / Bell Labs.

Ritchie retired in 2007 and began working occasionally as a consultant.

Ritchie was found dead on October 12, 2011, aged 70, at his home in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, where he lived alone. The first news of his death came from his former colleague Rob Pike . The cause and exact time of death were not disclosed. After receiving treatment for prostate cancer and heart disease, his health was compromised for several years. News of Ritchie's death was largely overshadowed by media coverage of the previous week's death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs .


Together with Ken Thompson he received the Turing Award in 1983 , the Richard W. Hamming Medal of the IEEE in 1990 , and the National Medal of Technology in 1999 . In 2005, Ritchie received the Industrial Research Institute's IRI Achievement Award . In 2011 he received the Japan Prize for the development of Unix and C. In 2019 he was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame .


Web links

Commons : Dennis Ritchie  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Matthias Kremp: 40 years of Unix . Mirror online. August 18, 2009. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  2. The famous PDP-7 comes to the rescue ( English ) Bell Labs . Archived from the original on August 6, 2007. Retrieved October 26, 2011: "It did not take long, therefore, for Thompson to find a little-used PDP-7 computer with an excellent display terminal," Ritchie explained. "He and I rewrote 'Space Travel' to run on this machine."
  3. ^ K. Thompson, DM Ritchie: Unix Programmer's Manual ( English ) Lucent Technologies. November 3, 1971. Archived from the original on September 6, 2014. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  4. Unix is ​​simple - to the death of Dennis Ritchie . Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  5. ^ Dennis M. Ritchie: The Development of the C Language ( English ) Lucent Technologies. 1993. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
  6. Dennis M. Ritchie: Dissertation: Program Structure and Computational Complexity ( English ) Harvard University. 1968. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  7. ^ Benny Evangelista: Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie win Japan Prize ( English ) San Francisco Chronicle . January 25, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  8. Unix creator Dennis Ritchie dies aged 70 ( English ) BBC News. October 13, 2011. Retrieved October 13, 2011.
  9. Steve Lohr: Dennis Ritchie, Trailblazer in Digital Era, Dies at 70 ( English ) The New York Times. October 13, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  10. Industrial Research Institute Presents 2005 IRI Achievement Award to Dr. Dennis M. Ritchie . Industrial Research Institute. November 14, 2005. Archived from the original on November 22, 2012. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved October 17, 2011. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. Japan Prize for UNIX Developers . heise online . January 25, 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2011.