18 Facts About Ken Thompson


Kenneth Lane Thompson was born on February 4,1943 and is an American pioneer of computer science.


Ken Thompson invented the B programming language, the direct predecessor to the C programming language, and was one of the creators and early developers of the Plan 9 operating system.


Since 2006, Ken Thompson has worked at Google, where he co-developed the Go programming language.


Ken Thompson won the Turing Award in 1983 with his long-term colleague Dennis Ritchie.


Ken Thompson received a Bachelor of Science in 1965 and a master's degree in 1966, both in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences, from the University of California, Berkeley, where his master's thesis advisor was Elwyn Berlekamp.


Ken Thompson had developed the CTSS version of the editor QED, which included regular expressions for searching text.


Ken Thompson invented Thompson's construction algorithm used for converting regular expressions into nondeterministic finite automata in order to make expression matching faster.


In 1975, Ken Thompson took a sabbatical from Bell Labs and went to his alma mater, UC Berkeley.


In early 1976, Ken Thompson wrote the initial version of Berkeley Pascal at the Computer Science Division, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, UC Berkeley.


Ken Thompson wrote a chess-playing program called "chess" for the first version of Unix.


Later, along with Joseph Condon, Ken Thompson created the hardware-assisted program Belle, a world champion chess computer.


Ken Thompson wrote programs for generating the complete enumeration of chess endings, known as endgame tablebases, for all 4,5, and 6-piece endings, allowing chess-playing computer programs to make "perfect" moves once a position stored in them is reached.


Later, with the help of chess endgame expert John Roycroft, Ken Thompson distributed his first results on CD-ROM.


Ken Thompson was instrumental in the design and implementation of the Plan 9 from Bell Labs, a new operating system utilizing principles of Unix, but applying them more broadly to all major system facilities.


In 1992, Ken Thompson developed the UTF-8 encoding scheme together with Rob Pike.


Ken Thompson worked at Entrisphere, Inc as a fellow until 2006 and now works at Google as a Distinguished Engineer.


In 1980, Ken Thompson was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for "designing UNIX, an operating system whose efficiency, breadth, power, and style have guided a generation's exploitation of minicomputers".


In 1999, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers chose Ken Thompson to receive the first Tsutomu Kanai Award "for his role in creating the UNIX operating system, which for decades has been a key platform for distributed systems work".