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Brian Wilson Kernighan (pronounced /ˈkɛrn
ɪhæn/, the 'g' is silent), (born January 1942, Toronto, Ontario, Canada) is a computer scientist who worked at Bell Labs alongside Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie and contributed greatly to Unix and its school of thought. He is also coauthor of the AWK and AMPL programming languages. The 'K' of K&R C and the 'K' in AWK both stand for 'Kernighan'. Brian Kernighan is currently a Professor at the Computer Science Department of Princeton University, where he is also the Undergraduate Department Representative.
Kernighan's name became widely known through co-authorship of the first book on the C programming language with Dennis Ritchie. Kernighan has said that he had no part in the design of the C language ("it's entirely Dennis Ritchie's work"). He authored many Unix programs, including ditroff, and cron for Version 7 Unix.
In collaboration with Shen Lin he devised well-known heuristics for two NP-complete optimization problems: graph partitioning and the travelling salesman problem. (In a display of authorial equity, the former is usually called the Kernighan–Lin algorithm, while the latter is styled Lin–Kernighan.)
Kernighan was the software editor for Prentice Hall International. His "Software Tools" series spread the essence of 'C/Unix thinking' with makeovers for BASIC, FORTRAN, and Pascal - and most notably his 'Ratfor' (rational FORTRAN) was put in the public domain.
Kernighan is also known as a coiner of the expression "What You See Is All You Get (WYSIAYG)", which is sarcastic variant of the original "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG). Kernighan's term is used to indicate that WYSIWYG systems might throw away information in a document that could be useful in other contexts.
He received his Bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Toronto. He received his PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton University, where he has held a professorship in the department of computer science since 2000. Each fall he teaches a course called "Computers in Our World", which introduces the fundamentals of computing to non-majors.
Summary of achievements
- Hello, world, a program originally written by Brian Kernighan of Bell Labs in "A Tutorial Introduction to the Language B" .
- The AWK programming language, along with Al Aho and Peter J. Weinberger, and its book The AWK Programming Language
- The AMPL programming language
- The Elements of Programming Style, with P. J. Plauger
- Ratfor, along with P. J. Plauger
- Software Tools, a book and set of tools for Ratfor, cocreated in part with P. J. Plauger
- Software Tools in Pascal, a book and set of tools for PASCAL, with P. J. Plauger
- The Unix Programming Environment, a tutorial book along with Rob Pike
- The C Programming Language along with C creator Dennis Ritchie, the first book on C
- The pic typesetting language for troff
- The eqn typesetting language for troff, along with Lorinda Cherry
- The Practice of Programming, with Rob Pike
- Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language, a popular criticism of Niklaus Wirth's Pascal programming language. Some parts of the criticism are obsolete due to ISO 7185 (Programming Languages - Pascal), the criticism was written before ISO 7185 was even created. See below for a link. (AT&T Computing Science Technical Report #100)
- ditroff, or "device independent troff", which allowed troff to be used with any device
- The m4 macro processing language, with Dennis Ritchie
- Software Tools (1976 with PJ Plauger)
- Software Tools in Pascal (1981 with PJ Plauger)
- The C Programming Language ('K&R') (1978, 1988 with Dennis M. Ritchie)
- The Elements of Programming Style (1974, 1978 with PJ Plauger)
- The Unix Programming Environment (1984 with Rob Pike)
- The AWK Programming Language (1988 with Al Aho and Peter J. Weinberger)
- The Practice of Programming (1999 with Rob Pike)
- AMPL: A Modeling Language for Mathematical Programming, 2nd Ed. (2003 with Robert Fourer and David Gay)
|File:Wikiquote-logo-en.svg||Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Brian Kernighan|
- Brian Kernighan's home page at Princeton U.
- Brian Kernighan's home page at Bell Labs
- "Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language" – By Brian Kernighan, AT&T Bell Labs, 2 April 1981
- "Leap In and Try Things" - Interview with Brian Kernighan – on "Harmony at Work Blog", October 2009.
- Interview with Brian Kernighan – By Aleksey Dolya, for Linux Journal, July 2003.
- An Interview with Brian Kernighan – By Mihai Budiu, for PC Report Romania, August 2000
- Transcript of an interview with Brian Kernighan – Interview by Michael S. Mahoney
- Video - TechNetCast At Bell Labs: Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan (1999-05-14)
- Video (Princeton University, September 7, 2003) - "Assembly for the Class of 2007: 'D is for Digital and Why It Matters'"
- A Descent into Limbo by Brian Kernighan
- Photos of Brian Kernighancs:Brian Kernighan
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