Guy L. Steele, Jr.
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|Guy Lewis Steele Jr.|
October 2, 1954 |
Missouri, United States
|Institutions||Oracle Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Thinking Machines|
|Alma mater||Harvard University, MIT|
|Known for||programming languages|
|Notable awards||ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award (1988)
Harry H. Goode Memorial Award (2007)
Guy Lewis Steele Jr. (//), also known as "The Great Quux", and GLS (//), is an American computer scientist who has played an important role in designing and documenting several computer programming languages.
Steele was born in Missouri and graduated from the Boston Latin School in 1972. He received a BA in applied mathematics from Harvard (1975) and an MS and Ph.D. from MIT in Computer Science (1977, 1980). He then worked as an assistant professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and a compiler implementer at Tartan Laboratories. Next he joined the supercomputer company Thinking Machines, where he helped to define and promote a parallel version of Lisp called *Lisp (Star Lisp).
In 1994, Steele joined Sun Microsystems and was invited by Bill Joy to become a member of the Java team after the language had been designed, since he had a track record of writing good specifications for existing languages. He was named a Sun Fellow in 2003.
While at MIT, Steele published more than two dozen papers with Gerald Jay Sussman on the subject of the Lisp language and its implementation (the Lambda Papers). One of their most notable contributions was the design of the programming language Scheme.
Steele also designed the original command set of Emacs and was the first to port TeX (from WAITS to ITS). He has published papers on other subjects, including compilers, parallel processing, and constraint languages. One song he composed has been published in Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery (CACM) ("The Telnet Song," April 1984, a parody of the behavior of a series of PDP-10 TELNET implementations written by Mark Crispin).
Steele has served on accredited standards committees ECMA TC39 (ECMAScript, for which he was editor of the first edition), X3J11 (the C language), and X3J3 (Fortran) and is currently chairman of X3J13 (Common Lisp). He was also a member of the IEEE working group that produced the IEEE Standard for the Scheme Programming Language, IEEE Std 1178-1990. He represents Sun Microsystems in the High Performance Fortran Forum, which produced the High Performance Fortran specification in May, 1993.
In addition to specifications of the Java programming language, Steele's work at Sun Microsystems has included research in parallel algorithms, implementation strategies, and architectural and software support. In 2005, Steele began leading a team of researchers at Sun developing a new programming language named Fortress, a high-performance language designed to obsolete Fortran.
Steele and Samuel P. Harbison wrote C: A Reference Manual, (Prentice-Hall, 1984; ISBN 0-13-110016-5), to provide a precise description of the C programming language, which Tartan Laboratories was trying to implement on a wide range of systems. Both authors participated in the ANSI C standardization process; several revisions of the book were issued to reflect the new standard.
In 1984, Steele published Common Lisp the Language (Digital Press; ISBN 0-932376-41-X; 465 pages). This first edition was the original specification of Common Lisp ("CLtL1") and served as the basis for the ANSI standard. Steele released a greatly expanded second edition in 1990, (Digital Press; ISBN 1-55558-041-6; 1029 pages) which documented a near-final version of the ANSI standard.
Steele, along with Charles H. Koelbel, David B. Loveman, Robert S. Schreiber, and Mary E. Zosel wrote The High Performance Fortran Handbook (MIT Press, 1994; ISBN 0-262-11185-3).
Steele received the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award in 1988. He was named an ACM Fellow in 1994, a member of the National Academy of Engineering of the United States of America in 2001 and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002. He received the Dr. Dobb's Journal Excellence in Programming Award in 2005.
- Telnet Song
- Poems (mostly parodies) from Guy Steele's student days
- A podcast interview with Guy Steele on Software Engineering Radio
- "Growing a Language", Keynote at the 1998 ACM OOPSLA Conference
- Guy Steele: Dan Friedman--Cool Ideas (Dan Friedman's 60th Birthday)