Computing Research Policy Blog

The Computing Research Association (or CRA) has been involved in shaping public policy of relevance to computing research for more than two decades. More recently the CRA Government Affairs program has enhanced its efforts to help the members of the computing research community contribute to the public debate knowledgeably and effectively.

Thacker Awarded A.M. Turing Award

Charles P. Thacker has been named the recipient of the 2009 A.M. Turing Award by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for his work in personal computing and networking. Thacker is currently a technical fellow at Microsoft Research, a Fellow of the ACM, has won several awards and citations, including the IEEE John von Neumann medal and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He also holds an honorary doctorate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

Named for British mathematician Alan M. Turing, the A.M. Turing award was first granted in 1966 and is widely considered the “Noble Prize in Computing.” The award carries a prize of $250,000 with financial support from Intel Corporation and Google Inc.

The full citation for the A.M. Turing Award reads:

Charles P. (Chuck) Thacker is a pioneering architect, inventor, designer, and builder of many of today’s key personal computing and network technologies. During the 70s and early 80s at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Chuck was a central systems designer and main pragmatic engineering force behind many of PARC’s technologies, including: Alto, the first modern personal computer with a bit-map screen to run graphical user interfaces with WYSIWYG fidelity and interaction. All of today’s personal computers with bit-map screens and graphical user interfaces descend directly from the Alto.

In addition, he invented the snooping cache coherence protocols used in nearly all small-scale shared-memory multiprocessors, pioneered the design of high-performance, high-availability packet- or cell-switched local area networks in the AN1 and AN2, and designed the Firefly, the first multiprocessor workstation. Almost 30 years after the Alto Chuck designed and built the prototype for the most used tablet PCs today.

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Thacker Awarded A.M. Turing Award