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C programming language inventor Dennis Ritchie dies at 70

updated 11:25 pm EDT, Wed October 12, 2011

Programmer passes after fight with illness

Just one week after the tech industry was hit with the news of Steve Jobs' death, computer scientist Dennis Ritchie has also passed. The unfortunate news was announced by friend and colleague Rob Pike, who notes that Ritchie died at his home after a "long illness." The 70-year-old Harvard graduate and veteran of Lucent Technologies and Bell Labs was credited with authoring the C programming language.

Ritchie and Brian Kernighan published the book The C Programming Language in 1978, following development at Bell Labs. The book was followed by a second edition, which was translated into a wide range of languages and is still read today.

The computer scientists won a number of awards for creating C and helping develop Unix. Achievements include the Turing Award and the National Medal of Technology, among other honors.

"With UNIX and C, Ken [Thompson] and Dennis changed the way people used, thought and learned about computers and computer science," said Bell Labs executive Arun Netravali in 1999 when both men received the National Medal of Technology. "Few people have had such impact on their colleagues, on generations of students and on an entire industry."

"He was a quiet and mostly private man, but he was also my friend, colleague, and collaborator, and the world has lost a truly great mind," said Rob Pike earlier today in a Google+ post.

President Clinton awarding the National Medal of Technology to Ritchie and Thompson

by MacNN Staff



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