March 09, 2010 | By Bill Gates
PC Pioneer Chuck Thacker Wins Turing Award
For his lifetime contributions to computer science, the Association for Computing Machinery has honored Chuck Thacker with its prestigious Turing Award. Over four decades, Thacker’s work at Xerox PARC and Microsoft have helped pave the way for the modern personal computer.
There are few people I can think of who have made as important a contribution to computer science as Chuck Thacker. That’s why I was so happy to hear that he was recognized with the Turing Award by the Association for Computing Machinery.
The Turing Award is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of computing.” It is given annually to individuals for contributions “of lasting and major importance to the computer field,” and is accompanied by a $250,000 prize. It's a big deal.
Chuck was the chief designer of the Alto, the first personal computer to use a bit-mapped display and mouse to provide a windowed user interface. He co-invented the Ethernet local area network, and contributed to many other breakthroughs, including the first laser printer.
A quarter century later, Chuck played a pivotal role at Microsoft in the development of the Tablet PC. We’re seeing today how breakthroughs in direct user interaction are making a difference in mainstream computing.
Today, Chuck is a Technical Fellow at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley. He holds a number of U.S. patents in computer systems and networking, and in 2007, was awarded the prestigious John Von Neumann medal for his role in the creation of the PC and the development of networked computer systems.
The Turing Award really underscores the importance of Chuck’s contribution to computing. Today, it’s easy to take the PC for granted, but Chuck truly was an inspired visionary who understood its possibilities and potential.