Lambert Meertens

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Lambert Meertens
Lambert Guillaume Louis Théodore Meertens

(1944-05-10) 10 May 1944 (age 78)
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Known forALGOL 68, ABC, Bird–Meertens formalism
AwardsIFIP Silver Core (2007)[1][2]
IFIP Outstanding Service Award (2015)
Scientific career
FieldsComputer science
InstitutionsCentrum Wiskunde & Informatica
Utrecht University
Kestrel Institute

Lambert Guillaume Louis Théodore Meertens or L.G.L.T. Meertens (born 10 May 1944, in Amsterdam) is a Dutch computer scientist and professor.[3] As of 2020, he is a researcher at the Kestrel Institute, a nonprofit computer science research center in Palo Alto's Stanford Research Park.[2]

Life and career[edit]

As a student at the Ignatius Gymnasium in Amsterdam, Meertens designed a computer with Kees Koster, a classmate.[4] In the 1960s, Meertens applied affix grammars to the description and composition of music, and obtained a special prize from the jury at the 1968 International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) Congress in Edinburgh for his computer-generated string quartet, Quartet No. 1 in C major for 2 violins, viola and violoncello, based on the first non-context-free affix grammar.[5][6] The string quartet was published in 1968, as Mathematical Centre Report MR 96.

Meertens was one of the editors of the Revised ALGOL 68 Report.[7] He was the originator and one of the designers of the programming language ABC, the incidental predecessor of Python.[8][9] He was chairman of the Dutch Pacifist Socialist Party (PSP) from 1975 until 1981. He was codesigner of the Bird–Meertens formalism, along with Richard Bird, who also gifted him the Meertens number.[10]

He became involved with developing international standards in programming and informatics, as a member of IFIP Working Group 2.1 on Algorithmic Languages and Calculi,[11] which specified, maintains, and supports the languages ALGOL 60 and ALGOL 68.[12] From 1999 to 2009, he was chairperson.

His original work was at the Mathematical Centre (MC), now called Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI), in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After having been Associate Professor of Computer Science at New York University in 1982–83, he was part-time Professor of Applied Logic at Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, from 1984 to 1986 before becoming part-time Professor of Software Technology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, where he is now professor emeritus. As of 2021, he works as a researcher at the Kestrel Institute in Palo Alto, California.



  1. ^ a b "Holders of the IFIP Silver Core Award (1974–2007)" (PDF). Griffith University. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  2. ^ a b c "Prof. Lambert Meertens". Kestrel Institute. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
  3. ^ Prof.dr. L.G.L.Th. Meertens (1944–) at the Catalogus Professorum Academiæ Rheno-Traiectinæ
  4. ^ Rooijendijk, Cordula (2007). Alles moest nog worden uitgevonden (in Dutch). Atlas.
  5. ^ Kassler, Michael (1969). "Report from Edinburgh". Perspectives of New Music. 7 (2): 175–177. doi:10.2307/832302. JSTOR 832302..
  6. ^ Quartet No. 1 in C major for 2 violins, viola and violoncello. Score and links to mp3 sound files of a performance by the Amsterdam String Quartet (1968).
  7. ^ van Wijngaarden, Adriaan; Mailloux, Barry James; Peck, John Edward Lancelot; Koster, Cornelis Hermanus Antonius; Sintzoff, Michel [in French]; Lindsey, Charles Hodgson; Meertens, Lambert Guillaume Louis Théodore; Fisker, Richard G., eds. (1976). Revised Report on the Algorithmic Language ALGOL 68 (PDF). Springer-Verlag. ISBN 978-0-387-07592-1. OCLC 1991170. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-04-19. Retrieved 2019-05-11.
  8. ^ Hamilton, Naomi (2008-05-08). "The A–Z of Programming Languages: Python". Computerworld. IDG Communications. Archived from the original on 2008-12-29. Retrieved 2020-09-04. ... I figured I could design and implement a language 'almost, but not quite, entirely unlike' ABC, improving upon ABC's deficiencies, ...
  9. ^ Stewart, Bruce (2002-06-04). "An Interview with Guido van Rossum". O’Reilly Media. Archived from the original on 2013-03-13. Retrieved 2020-09-04. ... in my head I had analyzed some of the reasons it had failed.
  10. ^ Bird, Richard S. (1998). "Meertens number". Journal of Functional Programming. 8 (1): 83–88. doi:10.1017/S0956796897002931. S2CID 2939112.
  11. ^ Jeuring, Johan; Meertens, Lambert; Guttmann, Walter (2016-08-17). "Profile of IFIP Working Group 2.1". Foswiki. Retrieved 2020-10-16.
  12. ^ Swierstra, Doaitse; Gibbons, Jeremy; Meertens, Lambert (2011-03-02). "ScopeEtc: IFIP21: Foswiki". Foswiki. Retrieved 2020-10-16.

External links[edit]