Fields Computer Science
Role Computer scientist
|Name Brian Kernighan|
|Born January 1, 1942 (age 74)
Toronto, Canada (1942-01-01) |
Alma mater University of Toronto Princeton University
Known for Unix, AWK, AMPL The C Programming Language (book)
Education Princeton University, University of Toronto
Books The C Programming Language, The Unix Programming Environment, The Practice of Programming, The Elements of Progra, The AWK Programming Language
Similar People Dennis Ritchie, Rob Pike, Ken Thompson, Alfred Aho, P J Plauger
Institutions Princeton University
Computer science brian kernighan on successful language design
Brian Wilson Kernighan (; born January 1, 1942) is a Canadian computer scientist who worked at Bell Labs alongside Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie and contributed to the development of Unix. He is also coauthor of the AWK and AMPL programming languages. The "K" of K&R C and the "K" in AWK both stand for "Kernighan". Since 2000 Brian Kernighan has been a Professor at the Computer Science Department of Princeton University, where he is also the Undergraduate Department Representative.
- Computer science brian kernighan on successful language design
- Unix pipeline brian kernighan computerphile
- Early life and education
- Career and research
Unix pipeline brian kernighan computerphile
Early life and education
Born in Toronto, Kernighan attended the University of Toronto between 1960 and 1964, earning his Bachelor's degree in engineering physics. He received his PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1969 for research supervised by Peter Weiner.
Career and research
Kernighan has held a professorship in the department of computer science at Princeton since 2000. Each fall he teaches a course called "Computers in Our World", which introduces the fundamentals of computing to non-majors. Kernighan's name became widely known through co-authorship of the first book on the C programming language with Dennis Ritchie. Kernighan affirmed that he had no part in the design of the C language ("it's entirely Dennis Ritchie's work"). He authored many Unix programs, including ditroff.
In collaboration with Shen Lin he devised well-known heuristics for two NP-complete optimization problems: graph partitioning and the travelling salesman problem. In a display of authorial equity, the former is usually called the Kernighan–Lin algorithm, while the latter is known as the Lin–Kernighan heuristic.
Kernighan was the software editor for Prentice Hall International. His "Software Tools" series spread the essence of "C/Unix thinking" with makeovers for BASIC, FORTRAN, and Pascal, and most notably his "Ratfor" (rational FORTRAN) was put in the public domain.
He has said that if stranded on an island with only one programming language it would have to be C.
Kernighan coined the term Unix and helped popularize Thompson's Unix philosophy. Kernighan is also known as a coiner of the expression "What You See Is All You Get" (WYSIAYG), which is a sarcastic variant of the original "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG). Kernighan's term is used to indicate that WYSIWYG systems might throw away information in a document that could be useful in other contexts.
Kernighan's original 1978 implementation of Hello, World! was sold at The Algorithm Auction, the world’s first auction of computer algorithms.
In 1996, Kernighan taught CS50 which is the Harvard University introductory course in Computer Science. His students on CS50 include David J. Malan who now runs the course.
Other achievements during his career include: