Microsoft’s Charles P. Thacker named 56th recipient
of ACM’s A.M. Turing Award.
turing award winner charles P. thacker
AWards For sCieNTiFiC excel- lence were recently an- nounced by ACM, SIGACT, the European Association for Theoretical Computer
Science, the Computing Research Association, and the Anita Borg Institute
for Women in Technology to honor select scientists for their contributions to
acm a.m. turing award
Charles P. Thacker, a technical fellow
at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus,
is the recipient of the 2009 ACM A.M.
Turing Award for pioneering work that
led to the design and realization of the
Alto in 1974, the first modern PC and
the prototype for networked personal
computers. Thacker is also honored
for his contributions to the Ethernet local area network, which he co-invented
in 1973; the first multiprocessor work-station; and the prototype for today’s
most-used tablet PC, with capabilities
for direct user interaction.
Thacker created and collaborated
on what would become the fundamental building blocks of the PC business.
“Charles Thacker’s contributions have
earned him a reputation as one of the
most distinguished computer systems
engineers in the history of the field,”
said ACM President Professor Dame
Wendy Hall. “His enduring achievements—from his initial innovations on
the PC to his leadership in hardware development of the multiprocessor work-station to his role in developing the tablet PC—have profoundly affected the
course of modern computing.”
Photogra Ph by marcin Wichary
The Turing Award, long recognized
as the Nobel Prize in computing, includes
a $250,000 prize, with financial support
provided by Intel Corp. and Google Inc.
An in-depth profile and interview
with Thacker is scheduled for the July
issue of Communications.
cRa Distinguished service
The Computing Research Association
honored Moshe Y. Vardi, a professor
of computer science at Rice University
and editor-in-chief of Communications
of the ACM, with its 2010 Distinguished
Service Award. Vardi was nominated
for two fundamental contributions to
the computing research community.
The first was leading the effort to produce a definitive report on offshoring,
Globalization and Offshoring of Software, which has contributed significantly to debunking myths about the
future health of the computing field.
His second contribution was leading
the effort to redefine Communications
with the goal of engaging the computing research community to create a
compelling magazine for computing.
cal and experimental analysis of algorithms, and Kurt Mehlhorn of the Max
Planck Institute is the recipient of the
European Association for Theoretical
Computer Science’s EATCS Award for
his distinguished career in theoretical
“One cannot imagine NP-complete-ness without David Johnson,” Lance
Fortnow, a professor of computer science at Northwestern University (and
SIGACT chair), told Communications.
“He developed much of the early theory, helping us deal with NP-complete
problems via approximation and experimental algorithms. Johnson promoted theory through SIGACT, the Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, and the
DIMACS Implementation Challenges.
His legendary reference book on NP-completeness with Michael Garey is an
invaluable part of nearly every computer scientist’s library.
“Kurt Mehlhorn has done fundamental research in algorithmic theory,
including problems from geometry,
algebra, graph theory, combinatorial
optimization, parallel computing, and
VLSI,” said Fortnow. “With Stefan
Näher, Mehlhorn developed LEDA, the
Library of Efficient Data types and Algorithms, providing researchers and businesses with theoretical analyses and
implementations of a broad collection
of algorithms in geometry, graph theory, and cryptography.”
Women of Vision awards
The Anita Borg Institute for Women
in Technology has named Kathleen R.
McKeown, Kristina M. Johnson, and
Lila Ibrahim as recipients of the 2010
Women of Vision Awards. McKeown, a
computer science professor at Columbia University, is the winner in the innovation category. Johnson, the under
secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy and the dean of Duke University’s
Pratt School of Engineering, is the winner in the leadership category. Ibrahim,
general manager of Intel’s Emerging
Markets Platform Group, is the winner
in the social impact category.
theoretical cs awards
David S. Johnson of AT&T Labs is the
recipient of ACM SIGACT’s 2009 Knuth
Prize for his contributions to theoreti-
Jack Rosenberger is senior editor, news, of
Communications of the ACM.