- Dijkstra, Edsger Wybe
▪ 2003Dutch computer scientist (b. May 11, 1930, Rotterdam, Neth.—d. Aug. 6, 2002, Nuenen, Neth.), provided the mathematical foundation for “structured programming”; his idea, which came to be called Dijkstra's algorithm, established the “shortest-path” concept of logically structured sets and subsets of computer commands in place of the excessively complex and disorganized commands often written by early programmers. This concept later found application in everything from electronic circuit design to graphic image processing to voice recognition. His other work included the first version of ALGOL60, an algorithmic language used in one of the earliest compiler programs, and Dijkstra's semaphore, a technique of organizing data to minimize computer system freezes. Dijkstra was professor of computer science at Eindhoven University (1962–84), headed research at Burroughs Computers Corp. (1973–84), and held the Schlumberger Centennial Chair in Computing Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin (1984–99). In 1972 he received the A.M. Turing Award, his field's highest honour.
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