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Computing's Highest Honor Awarded to Inventors of Dominant Programming Style

Norwegian Team Developed Concepts for Software Now in Home Entertainment Devices

Virginia Gold

New York, February 5, 2002--The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has presented the 2001 A.M. Turing Award, considered the "Nobel Prize of Computing," to Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard of Norway for their role in the invention of object-oriented programming, the most widely used programming model today. Their work has led to a fundamental change in how software systems are designed and programmed, resulting in reusable, reliable, scalable applications that have streamlined the process of writing software code and facilitated software programming. Current object-oriented programming languages include C++ and Java, both widely used in programming a wide range of applications from large-scale distributed systems to small, personal applications, including personal computers, home entertainment devices, and standalone arcade applications. The A.M.Turing Award carries a $25,000 prize.

The discrete event simulation language (Simula I) and general programming language (Simula 67) developed by Dahl and Nygaard at the Norwegian Computing Center in Oslo, Norway in the 1960's, led the way for software programmers to build software systems in layers of abstraction. With this approach, each layer of a system relies on a platform implemented by the lower layers. Their approach has resulted in programming that is both accessible and available to the entire research community.

"The work of Drs. Dahl and Nygaard has been instrumental in developing a remarkably responsive programming model that is both flexible and agile when it is applied to complex software design and implementation," said John R. White, executive director and CEO of ACM. "It is the dominant style for implementing programs with large numbers of interacting components." The awards committee noted that the core concepts embodied in their object-oriented methods were designed for both system description and programming and provided not just a logical but a notational basis for their ideas. The benefits of their work are not limited to software but are applicable to business processes as well.

Drs. Dahl and Nygaard are professors (emeriti) of informatics at the University of Oslo. They developed their object-oriented programming concepts at the Norwegian Computing Center from 1961-67. Professor Nygaard was involved in large-scale simulation studies at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment from 1949-60. He continued his work on object-orientation, and did research on systems development, participative system design, and societal consequences of information technology. With Danish colleagues, he invented Beta, a general object-oriented language.

Professor Dahl also worked at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, and joined the Simula project as an experienced designer and implementer of basic software as well as high level programming language. In 1968, Dahl became the first professor of informatics at the University of Oslo, responsible for establishing research and education programs in this rapidly expanding field. His focus on computer program verification led to the development of his theory of constructive types and subtypes based on computer-aided concept formation and reasoning.

ACM will present the A.M. Turing Award, its most prestigious technical honor, at the annual ACM Awards Banquet April 27, 2002, at the University of Toronto. The award was named for A. M. Turing, a pioneer in the computing field. Financial support for the award is provided by InterTrust Technologies Corp.'s Strategic Technologies and Architectural Research Laboratory.

About ACM

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is a major force in advancing the skills of information technology professionals and students. ACM serves its global membership by delivering cutting edge technical information and transferring ideas from theory to practice. ACM hosts the computing industry's leading Portal to Computing Literature. With its world-class journals and magazines, dynamic special interest groups, numerous conferences, workshops and electronic forums, ACM is a primary resource to the information technology field. For additional information about ACM and the ACM Portal, see