Microsoft Researcher Wins Turing Award

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has awarded the 2009 A.M. Turing Award to Charles P. Thacker, for his work in pioneering the networked personal computer.

In 1974, while at the Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), Thacker built a prototype of a desktop computer, called the Alto. It featured a number of innovations that have since become commonplace on PCs, including a television-like screen, a graphical user interface and a WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) text editor.

The award also recognizes his work in helping develop Ethernet as well as his early prototypes of the multiprocessor workstation and the tablet personal computer.

Today, Thacker studies computer architecture at Microsoft Research, at the company's Silicon Valley campus. He holds 29 patents in computer systems and networking.

Since 1966, the ACM has bestowed the Turing Award, named after British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan M. Turning, on computer scientists and engineers who have made great strides in advancing the frontier of computer science.

Other recipients of the award, which ACM describes as the Nobel Prize in Computing, include Donald Knuth, Alan Kay and Vinton Cerf.

Thacker will be awarded a US$250,000 prize and will be honored in a banquet to be held in June in San Francisco.

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