Dennis Ritchie

Father of Modern Computer Programming

The Programming OG D.C
Photograph of Dennis Ritchie the computer-scientist behind Unix and C


Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie was an American computer scientist. He created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system.

Ritchie and Thompson received the Turing Award from the ACM in 1983, the Hamming Medal from the IEEE in 1990 and the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton in 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007.


  • 1941 Born in Bronxville, New York, U.S
  • 1963 Earned B.Sc. In Physics from Harvard University
  • 1967 Started working in Bell Labs.
  • 1968 Earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University.
  • 1969 Developed Unix Operating System alongside other developers at Bell Labs
  • 1972 Developed C language at Bell Labs
  • 1990 Transferred to Lucent Technologies.
  • 2007 Retired from Lucent Technologies
  • 2011 Died at the age of 70 in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, U.S.

Notable Awards

  • 1983 Turing Award
  • 1988 National Medal of Technology
  • 1990 IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal
  • 1994 Computer Pioneer Award
  • 1997 Computer History Museum
  • 2003 Harold Pender Award
  • 2011 Japan Prize