Rob Pike

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Rob Pike
Born 1956 (age 58–59)
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Software engineer
Employer Google
Known for Plan 9, UTF-8, Go
Spouse(s) Renée French

Robert Pike (born 1956) is a Canadian software engineer and author. He is best known for his work at Bell Labs, where he was a member of the Unix team and was involved in the creation of the Plan 9 from Bell Labs and Inferno operating systems, as well as the Limbo programming language.

He also co-developed the Blit graphical terminal for Unix; before that he wrote the first window system for Unix in 1981. Pike is the sole inventor named in AT&T's US patent 4,555,775 or "backing store patent" that is part of the X graphic system protocol and one of the first software patents.[1]

Over the years Pike has written many text editors; sam[2] and acme are the most well known and are still in active use and development.

Pike, with Brian Kernighan, is the co-author of The Practice of Programming and The Unix Programming Environment. With Ken Thompson he is the co-creator of UTF-8. Pike also developed lesser systems such as the vismon program for displaying images of faces of email authors.

Pike also appeared once on Late Night with David Letterman, as a technical assistant to the comedy duo Penn and Teller.[verification needed]

As a joke Pike claims to have won the 1980 Olympic silver medal in Archery, a title actually held by Boris Isachenko;[3] however, Canada boycotted the 1980 Summer Olympics.

Pike is married to Renée French, and currently works for Google, where he is involved in the creation of the programming languages Go and Sawzall.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rob (2006-06-11). "Command Center". Retrieved 2013-06-25. 
  2. ^ McIlroy, M. D. (1987). A Research Unix reader: annotated excerpts from the Programmer's Manual, 1971–1986 (PDF) (Technical report). CSTR. Bell Labs. 139. 
  3. ^ Rob Pike and Ken Thompson, "Hello World", Proceedings of the Winter 1993 USENIX Conference, pp. 43--50, San Diego, 1993.
  4. ^ Pike, Rob; Dorward, Sean; Griesemer, Robert; Quinlan, Sean (2005-01-01). "Interpreting the Data: Parallel Analysis with Sawzall". Scientific Programming 13 (4): 227–298. 

External links[edit]