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Unix.se: Interview--Dennis Ritchie

Feb 08, 2003, 02:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Anders Jensen-Urstad)

"How and when did you first come in contact with computers?

"Dennis Ritchie: At some point when I was an undergraduate in college (about 1960) I went to some non-course talks about computers that intrigued me, and I signed up for the regular (introductory) one-term course. The first part was about analog computers, then a brief bit about punch-card equipment, then some about real digital computers, in which we prepared a program for the Univac I. I was an undergraduate Physics major, but began to intrigued more by both the theory and practice of computing. So in grad school my thesis work was fairly theoretical (hierarchies of recursive functions), but I also began to get more into the practical aspects. I was for three years one of the teaching assistants for successive versions of that same introductory course--which by that time had moved to the IBM 7094.

"What do you consider your greatest achievement in the field of computing to be?

"Dennis Ritchie: The single thing that I'm happiest about is that the notion of making the Unix system portable was mostly mine. C was already implemented on several quite different machines and OSs, Unix was already being distributed on the PDP-11, but the portability of the whole system was new..."

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