Chris Lattner

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Chris Lattner
Born 1978 (age 36–37)
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Portland
Occupation Compiler architect
Employer Apple Inc.
Known for LLVM, clang, Swift
Spouse(s) Tanya Lattner

Chris Lattner (born 1978) is an American software developer, best known as the primary author of the LLVM project and related projects, such as the clang compiler. He currently works at Apple Inc. as the Director of the Developer Tools department, leading the Xcode, Instruments and compiler teams.[1][2]


Lattner studied Computer Science at the University of Portland, Oregon, graduating in 2000. While in Oregon, he worked as an operating systems developer, enhancing Sequent Computer Systems's DYNIX/ptx.[2] He is married to compiler engineer Tanya Lattner, who is as of 2015 president of the LLVM Foundation.


In late 2000, Lattner joined the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a research assistant and M.Sc. student. While working with Vikram Adve, he designed and began the implementation of LLVM, an innovative infrastructure for optimizing compilers, which was the subject of his 2002 M.Sc. thesis. He completed a Ph.D. in 2005, researching new techniques for optimizing pointer-intensive programs and adding them to LLVM.

In 2005, Apple Inc. hired Lattner to begin work bringing LLVM to production quality for use in Apple products. Over time, Lattner built out the technology (personally implementing many major new features in LLVM), formed and built a team of LLVM developers at Apple, started the Clang project, took responsibility for evolution of Objective-C (contributing to the "blocks" language feature, and driving the ARC and Objective-C literals features), and nurtured the open source community (leading it through many open source releases). Apple first shipped LLVM-based technology in the 10.5 (and 10.4.8) OpenGL stack as a JIT compiler, shipped the llvm-gcc compiler in Xcode 3.1, Clang 1.0 in Xcode 3.2, Clang 2.0 (with C++ support) in Xcode 4.0, and LLDB, libc++, assemblers, and disassembler technology in later releases.

Lattner's recent work involves designing, implementing, and evangelizing the LLVM and Clang compilers, productizing and driving LLDB, and overseeing development of the low-level toolchain. LLVM technologies are currently the core of Apple's developer tools and the default toolchain on FreeBSD.

In June 2010, the ACM's Special Interest Group on programming languages (SIGPLAN) gave Lattner its inaugural Programming Languages Software Award "for his design and development of the Low Level Virtual Machine", noting that Professor Adve has stated that "Lattner’s talent as a compiler architect, together with his programming skills, technical vision, and leadership ability were crucial to the success of LLVM."[3]

In April 2013, the ACM awarded Lattner its Software System Award who was "recognized for developing a software system that has had a lasting influence, reflected in contributions to concepts, in commercial acceptance, or both."[1]


Swift is an open source[4] programming language with first-class functions for iOS and OS X development, created by Apple and introduced at Apple's developer conference WWDC 2014.

Swift is designed to coexist with Objective-C, Apple's previous object-oriented language, and to be more resilient against erroneous code. It is built with the LLVM compiler included in Xcode 6.

A 500-page manual, The Swift Programming Language, was released at WWDC as well, available on the iBooks Store for free.

Development on Swift began in 2010 by Chris Lattner, with the eventual collaboration of many other programmers. On June 2, 2014, the WWDC app became the first publicly released app written in Swift.[citation needed]


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