Complete Life History of Dennis Ritchie

This post gives the details of the complete life history of Dennis Ritchie, inventor of the programming language “C”.


Early life of Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie was born on Sep 9th, 1941 in Bronx-ville, New York. His father is Alistair Ritchie, an engineer at Bell laboratories and his mother Jean McGee Ritchie was a homemaker. Ritchie grew up in New Jersey and there he attended Summit high school. Alistair Ritchie cofounded a book “The design of switching circuits” and Dennis started to follow the footsteps of his father from his childhood days. Then he went to attend bachelor degree of Physics in Harvard University and he began to work Bell labs computing sciences research Centre. His doctoral thesis was entitled as “Program Structure and Computational Complexity” and he received his PhD degree in the year 1968.

 


His operating system works Instigated

After his graduation, he contributed a project in Bell Labs and helped for the BCPL language on the GE 645 and GE 635 Mulitics machine with a complier. He also wrote a complier program for ALTRAN and system for symbolic calculation. Ritchie and another programmer supported Ken Thompson to solve the complexity in Multics. Then they rethink and build a simpler system named  Unix operating system. A symposium on Operating systems Principles was hosted by IBM and there Ritchie introduced Unix to the public. As Unix is a modest one, it could be used on any machine and the users can handle variety of file operations with it. It all had happened in the year 1973 and Unix  was an immediate success.


Birth of C programming language by Ritchie

After the well establishment of Unix in the Bell Labs, Ritchie and Steve Johnson worked on the Unix operating system and laid a basis for the widespread growth of it. Then the Bell labs research groups released the seventh edition version which was the foundation of commercial Unix system. Later, Ritchie added some types of data and new syntax to Thompson’s B language and this gave birth to a new programming language “C”. As it is a concise language, most of the computer maker switched to it.

Even though C programming language uses few syntax and instructions, it is an organized one which is easy to use in different computers. C was standardized by ANSI & ISO and many companies began using C to develop their own software by writing programs with it. After that, Ritchie worked with Thompson to rewrite the Unix operating system with the help of C, performed some testing and finally attained a great success with it. He became the leader of Computing Techniques Research Department at Lucent Technologies in the year 1990.


Awards acquired by Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie received various awards for his great contributions in the field of computers. Some of the awards are:-

  1. In the year 1974, he got ACM award for the exceptional paper in systems and languages.

  2. He received the IEEE Emmanuel Piore award in 1982.

  3. He acknowledged for Computer Machinery Turing and ACM software systems Award in the year 1983.

  4. In 1988, United Stated National Academy of Engineering elected him as a member.

  5. C&C Foundation Award of NEC was given to him in the year 1989.

  6. He was the inheritor of United States National Medal of Technology in the year 1999.

  7. He and Ken Thompson were co-awarded the Japan Prize for the development of Unix operating system in the year 2011.

End of Dennis Ritchie

In the year 2007, Ritchie retired from Lucent Technologies System. He had suffered from heart disease & prostate cancer and died on October 12th, 2011 at his home.

Even though Dennis Ritchie was a physicist and a mathematician, he became a computer programmer.  His involvement with excellent programs resulted in massive growth and development in the field of computer and programming languages.

Hope you got inspired by the complete life history of Dennis Ritchie. What do you think about him? Share your insights here.

Leave a Reply