Martin Richards (computer scientist)

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Martin Richards
Born (1940-07-21) 21 July 1940 (age 78)[1]
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Known for Basic Combined Programming Language
Awards IEEE Computer Pioneer Award (2003)
Scientific career
Fields Programming languages
Institutions University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory
Thesis The design and implementation of CPL-like programming languages (1967)
Doctoral advisor David Barron, David Park and Christopher Strachey
Doctoral students Eben Upton[2]

Martin Richards (born 21 July 1940) is a British computer scientist known for his development of the BCPL programming language[3] which is both part of early research into portable software, and the ancestor of the B programming language invented by Ken Thompson in early versions of Unix and which Dennis Ritchie in turn used as the basis of his widely used C programming language.


Richards studied mathematics as an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge and took the Cambridge Diploma in Computer Science. His PhD was on programming language design and implementation.[4][5] He was a senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory until his retirement in 2007.


In addition to BCPL Richards' work[6] includes the development of the TRIPOS[7] portable operating system.

He was awarded the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Pioneer Award in 2003 for "pioneering system software portability through the programming language BCPL".[8]

Richards is a fellow of St Johns College at the University of Cambridge.


  1. ^ Cf. British Library catalogue entry for BCPL, the language and its compiler, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1979.
  2. ^ Upton, Eben (2006). Compiling with data dependence graphs (DPhil thesis). University of Cambridge. 
  3. ^ Richards, M. (1971). "The portability of the BCPL compiler". Software: Practice and Experience. 1 (2): 135–146. doi:10.1002/spe.4380010204. 
  4. ^ Martin Richards at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. ^ Richards, Martin (1967). The design and implementation of CPL-like programming languages (DPhil thesis). University of Cambridge. 
  6. ^ Martin Richards at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  7. ^ Richards, M.; Aylward, A. R.; Bond, P.; Evans, R. D.; Knight, B. J. (1979). "TRIPOS—a portable operating system for mini-computers". Software: Practice and Experience. 9 (7): 513. doi:10.1002/spe.4380090702. 
  8. ^ "Martin Richards". IEEE Computer Society. Retrieved 12 April 2015.