Ralph E. Griswold

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Ralph E. Griswold (born May 19, 1934 in Modesto ; † October 4, 2006 in Tucson ) was an American computer scientist who played a key role in the development of the programming languages SNOBOL , SL5 and Icon .

Griswold studied at Stanford University , where he earned a bachelor's degree in physics as well as an MS and Ph.D. in electrical engineering. He started his career in 1962 at the famous Bell Laboratories , where he did research on non-numerical data processing . The result was SNOBOL, a high-level programming language that offered revolutionary possibilities in the processing of character strings for the time. Five years later he was head of his own research and development department.

In 1971 Griswold became the first professor of computer science at the State University of Arizona , built up the department and was its head until 1981. During his time in Arizona , Griswold developed SNOBOL further and was involved in the design of the direct successor SL5 ("SNOBOL 5") . In 1977 he designed the programming language Icon, which was based on SNOBOL and ALGOL and whose strength lies in non-numerical data processing.

In 1990 he was appointed to the university's administrative board, to which he was a member for five years before he finally retired from teaching. He died of cancer on October 4, 2006 in Tucson .

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