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< Contents ERCIM News No. 51, October 2002
  Jaco W. de BakkerCWI - Professor Edsger Wybe Dijkstra, world-famous pioneer of the science and industry of computing, died after a long struggle with cancer on 6 August 2002 at his home in Nuenen, the Netherlands, at the age of 72. Dijkstra worked at the Mathematisch Centrum (MC/CWI) between 1952 and 1962. During his Amsterdam years, he worked as the first 'programmer' (his own modest description) in the Netherlands, participating in the design of the MC's first commercially marketed computer, the X1. Perhaps his greatest achievement during these years was the writing with Jaap Zonneveld of the world's first ALGOL60 compiler. From 1962 until 1984 he held a chair at the Eindhoven University of Technology. His fame was augmented through his fundamental studies of parallel programming and his insights into the construction of correct programs, and he was an eloquent advocate of the methodology of structured programming. Dijkstra was a Burroughs Corporation research fellow from 1973-1984. From 1984 until his retirement in 1999 he worked at the University of Texas in Austin. He wrote over 1300 books and papers, all of which are digitally accessible. Dijkstra was the 1972 recipient of the ACM Turing Award, often viewed as the Nobel Prize for computing. He was also a recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards. Dijkstra is universally acclaimed as the most famous scientist in the history of the Mathematical Centre, and was arguably one of the most influential computer scientists of the twentieth century. Dijkstra is survived by his wife, Ria, and three children. For more information, see: