'Nobel of computing' goes to early PC designer

Mar 09, 2010 By JORDAN ROBERTSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- A Microsoft Corp. researcher won the $250,000 Turing Award, one of technology's most coveted prizes, on Tuesday for his work helping design and build what is widely considered the first modern personal computer.

While at Xerox Corp.'s famed Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, in the 1970s, Charles Thacker led the hardware development for the Alto, which featured innovative display and other technologies that helped inspire future generations of computers.

Thacker, 67, was also co-inventor of the Ethernet networking technology for connecting computers, which is still widely used.

Thacker said he would probably donate the money to his alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley.

"I was flabbergasted," he said in an interview Tuesday. "I frankly never expected to get the award, because it wasn't given to people like me. Most of the people who have gotten the Turing award in the past few years are software people or theoreticians. There are scant few people who have actually built some hardware."

Other recent winners include Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, and Doug Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse.

The Turing is funded by Inc. and Corp. It is named for the mathematician Alan Turing and is administered by Association for Computing Machinery.

The association's president, Wendy Hall, said that Thacker is "one of the most distinguished systems engineers in the history of the field" and that his innovations have "profoundly affected the course of modern computing."

Explore further: Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

3.8 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Computing a way through the Turing barrier

Feb 22, 2005

Mathematicians working in an emerging field somewhere between physics, computer science and philosophy are investigating new ways of ‘computing the incomputable’ which could radically broaden our understanding of the ...

Microsoft's cloud computing system is growing up

Nov 17, 2009

(AP) -- Microsoft Corp. leads its industry in part because a vast army of outside computer programmers design software that only runs on its Windows operating system. Now, the company is fighting to keep those programmers ...

Recommended for you

Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

Dec 19, 2014

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI's ...

Study reveals mature motorists worse at texting and driving

Dec 18, 2014

A Wayne State University interdisciplinary research team in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has made a surprising discovery: older, more mature motorists—who typically are better drivers in ...

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.