Niklaus Wirth

The principal LanguageDesigner of a whole family of ProgrammingLanguages (see WirthLanguages) for which he received the ACM TuringAward in 1984.

Wirth retired in April 1999, but ETH Zurich has kept his Web page ( accessible.

I personally heard Niklaus Wirth repeat this often-quoted anecdote (i.e. eyewitness verification). He said he was once asked how to pronounce his name, and replied, "If you call me by name, it is Neeklaws Veert, but if you call me by value, it is Nickle's Worth".

This was especially amusing since he usually is a very serious guy, and some would say, not usually given to self-deprecating humor. -- dm

Knowing him just a bit, I actually think the story is true.

Wirth was called a "quiche-eater" for this in the famous RealProgrammers letter in the 80's.
I also can attest to the "Nickel's Worth" pun, having heard it--in person--at a presentation he gave in the late 1970s. -- ClayPhipps
Proposed the following formula: AlgorithmsPlusDataStructuresEqualsPrograms, the title and theme of a once widely-used textbook (see AlgorithmsAndDataStructures).

CategoryPerson CategoryStory CategoryAuthor CategoryScientist

EditText of this page (last edited July 21, 2006) or FindPage with title or text search