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ACM Awards 2009 Turing Prize To Alto Creator Charles Thacker 49

scumm writes "This year's Turing Prize has been awarded to Charles Thacker, whom they describe as (among other things) the 'creator of the first modern personal computer.' From the ACM's announcement: 'ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery today named Charles P. Thacker the winner of the 2009 ACM A.M. Turing Award for his pioneering design and realization of the Alto, the first modern personal computer, and the prototype for networked personal computers. Thacker's design, which he built while at Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), reflected a new vision of a self-sufficient, networked computer on every desk, equipped with innovations that are standard in today's models. Thacker was also cited for his contributions to the Ethernet local area network, which enables multiple computers to communicate and share resources, as well as the first multiprocessor workstation, and the prototype for today's most used tablet PC, with its capabilities for direct user interaction.' For further reading, the Wall Street Journal has an article providing more background about Mr. Thacker and the Turing Prize. In the spirit of full disclosure, the submitter feels compelled to point out that this Mr. Thacker is his uncle, and that he thinks this is really cool."
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ACM Awards 2009 Turing Prize To Alto Creator Charles Thacker

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  • Wikipedia (Score:3, Informative)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:56AM (#31450982) Homepage Journal

    When I saw the summary, I wondered why it didn't link a wikipedia article. After looking him up there, I see why -- the article on him is incredibly thin. Here's the whole of it:

    Charles P. (Chuck) Thacker is a technical fellow and computer pioneer.

    Thacker received his B.S. in physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1967 and then joined the university's "Project Genie" in 1968, which led to a very successful early timesharing system. Butler Lampson, Thacker, and others then left to form the Berkeley Computer Corporation, where Thacker designed the processor and memory system. While BCC was not commercially successful, this group became the core technologists in the Computer Systems Laboratory at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).[1]

    Thacker worked in the 1970s and 1980s at the PARC, where he served as project leader of the Xerox Alto personal computer system, was co-inventor of the Ethernet LAN, and contributed to many other projects, including the first laser printer.

    In 1983, Thacker was a founder of the Systems Research Center (SRC) at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), and in 1997, he joined Microsoft Research to help establish Microsoft's research lab in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

    After returning to the United States, Thacker designed the hardware for Microsoft's Tablet PC, based on his experience with the "interim Dynabook" at PARC, and later the Lectrice, a pen-based hand-held computer at DEC SRC.

    In 1994 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

    In 1996 he was named a Distinguished Alumni in Computer Science at U.C. Berkeley. [2]

    In 2004, he won the Charles Stark Draper Prize together with Alan C. Kay, Butler W. Lampson, and Robert W. Taylor.

    In 2007 he won the IEEE John von Neumann medal for "a central role in the creation of the personal computer and the development of networked computer systems."

    In 2010 he was named by the Association for Computing Machinery as the recipient of the 2009 Turing Award[3][4] in recognition of his pioneering design and realization of the Alto (computer), the first modern personal computer, and in addition for his contributions to the Ethernet and the Tablet PC.

    Thacker holds an honorary doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and is a Technical fellow at Microsoft.

    BTW, he's not to be confused with this [] Charles Thacker, who has nothing at all to do with computing and who you most likely would not want to meet.

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay