Fernando J. Corbató

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Fernando José Corbató
Fernando Corbato.jpg
Born (1926-07-01) July 1, 1926 (age 87)
Oakland, California
Nationality American
Fields Computer Scientist
Institutions Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Alma mater California Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Thesis A calculation of the energy bands of the graphite crystal by means of the tight-binding method (1956)
Doctoral advisor John C. Slater[1]
Doctoral students Jerome H. Saltzer
Known for Multics
Notable awards Turing Award

Fernando José "Corby" Corbató (born July 1, 1926) is a prominent American computer scientist, notable as a pioneer in the development of time-sharing operating systems.

Amongst many awards, he received the Turing Award in 1990, "for his pioneering work in organizing the concepts and leading the development of the general-purpose, large-scale, time-sharing and resource-sharing computer systems".

The first timesharing system he was associated with was known as the MIT Compatible Time-Sharing System, an early version of which was demonstrated in 1961. The experience gained led to a second project, Multics, which was adopted by Honeywell. Multics, while not particularly commercially successful in itself, directly inspired Ken Thompson to develop Unix, the direct descendants of which are still in extremely wide use; it also served as a model for every other subsequent operating system design.

Born in Oakland, California, Corbató received a bachelor's degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1950, and then a Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1956. He joined MIT's Computation Center immediately upon graduation, became a professor in 1965, and stayed at MIT until he retired.

In 2012, he was made a Fellow of the Computer History Museum "for his pioneering work on timesharing and the Multics operating system."[2]

Corbató is sometimes known for "Corbató's Law" which states[3]

The number of lines of code a programmer can write in a fixed period of time is the same independent of the language used.

Corbató has a wife, Emily. He has two daughters, Carolyn and Nancy Corbató by his late wife Isabel, and two step sons, David and Jason Gish.

Publications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fernando J. Corbató at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ "Fernando Corbato". Computer History Museum. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  3. ^ Originally from Corbató, F. J. (6 May 1969). "PL/I as a Tool for System Programming". Datamation 15 (5): 68–76. Archived from the original on 6 February 2008. "Regardless of whether one is dealing with assembly language or compiler language, the number of debugged lines of source code per day is about the same!" 

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