Arthur Whitney (computer scientist)

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Arthur Whitney
Arthur Whitney programmer.jpg
Born (1957-10-24) October 24, 1957 (age 60)
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Computer scientist
Years active 1988-present
Employer Kx Systems
Known for Co-founder Kx Systems
Notable work A+, K and Q programming languages

Arthur Whitney is a Canadian computer scientist most notable for developing the APL-inspired programming languages A+ and K and co-founding the company Kx Systems.[1]


Whitney studied pure mathematics at graduate level at the University of Toronto in the early 1980s. He then worked at Stanford University.[2] He worked extensively with APL, first at I. P. Sharp Associates alongside Ken Iverson and Roger Hui. He also wrote the initial prototype of J, a terse and macro-heavy single page of code, in one afternoon, which then served as the model for J implementor, Roger Hui, and was responsible for suggesting the rank operators in J.[3][4] In 1988, Whitney began working at Morgan Stanley developing financial applications.[5] At Morgan Stanley, Whitney helped to develop A+ to facilitate the migration of APL applications from IBM mainframes to a network of Sun workstations. A+ had a smaller set of primitive functions and was designed for speed and to handle large sets of time series data.

In 1993, Whitney left Morgan Stanley and co-founded Kx Systems with Janet Lustgarten to commercialize his K programming language.[6] The company signed an exclusive agreement with Union Bank of Switzerland and Whitney developed a variety of trading applications using K until the contract expired. At the outset of the contract Whitney developed the kdb database built on K.[7] In 2003, Kx Systems released Q, a new vector language that built upon K and the kdb+ database developed by Whitney.[8]

Whitney serves as a board member at Kx Systems.[9]


  1. ^ "An Interview With Arthur Whitney, Kx CEO and Developer of Kx Technology". Kx Systems. January 4, 2004. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ "A Conversation with Arthur Whitney". ACM Queue. April 20, 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  3. ^ Iverson, K. E. (1991), "A personal view of APL", IBM Systems Journal, 30 (4): 582–593, doi:10.1147/sj.304.0582 .
  4. ^ Hui, Roger (1992). An Implementation of J (PDF). Toronto: Iverson Software Inc. pp. 74–75. 
  5. ^ Taylor, Stephen. "Impending kOS". Vector. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  6. ^ McDonald, Clare (June 1, 2011). "Janet Lustgarten, CEO at KX Systems, on Shampoo Apps, Databases and Founding Her Own Company". Computer Weekly. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  7. ^ Garland, Simon (December 28, 2004). "Q Language Widening the Appeal of Vectors". Archived from the original on January 1, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  8. ^ Eadline, Douglas (September 9, 2014). "Working Down the Column: The Kdb+ Community". Cluster Monkey. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Management". Kx Systems. Retrieved June 1, 2016. 

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