Per Brinch Hansen

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Per Brinch Hansen, Syracuse University, New York, in 1999.

Per Brinch Hansen (November 13, 1938 – July 31, 2007) was a Danish-American computer scientist known for concurrent programming theory.


He was born in Frederiksberg, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Brinch Hansen was one of the pioneers of concurrent programming and operating systems (kernels). He coined the then-Danish word for computer: Datamat (English: datamaton). In the 1960s, Brinch Hansen worked at the Danish computer company Regnecentralen, first in the compiler group headed by Peter Naur and Jørn Jensen, and, later, as the chief architect of the RC 4000 minicomputer and its renowned operating system kernel (RC 4000 Multiprogramming System). In 1972, he wrote the first comprehensive textbook on Operating System Principles.

In 1970, his research in computer science focused on concurrent programming: Inspired by Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard's programming language Simula 67, he invented the monitor concept in 1972. In the United States, he also developed the first concurrent programming language, Concurrent Pascal, in 1975. In 1977, he wrote the first book on Concurrent Programming: The Architecture of Concurrent Programs.

Later, Brinch Hansen documented the historical development of these fundamental areas of computer science. This in part led to his invention, documentation and implementation of the programming language SuperPascal and the creation of the concept of a teaching programming language. Per Brinch Hansen also published a well-known paper detailing the inadequacies and pitfalls of Java's parallelism.[1]

In 1987, he became a professor at Syracuse University in New York State. On July 31, 2007, Per Brinch Hansen died of cancer.


Per Brinch Hansen, as a student in 1959.

He graduated in 1957 from St. Jørgens Gymnasium, Frederiksberg, and received his MS in 1963 in Electrical Engineering from Technical University of Denmark.

Professional experience[edit]

Honors and awards[edit]



  • Writing is a rigorous test of simplicity: It is just not possible to write convincingly about ideas that cannot be understood
  • Programming is the art of writing essays in crystal clear prose and making them executable


  1. ^ Brinch Hansen. "Java's Insecure Parallelism" (PDF). SIGPLAN. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 

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