Japan Prize Laureates

Laureates of the Japan Prize

Dr. Ken L. Thompson

Dr. Ken L. Thompson

  • Nationality:
  • Date of Birth:
    4 February 1943

Outline of Achievements

Outline of Achievements

The 2011 Japan Prize

  • Field:
    Information and Communications
  • Achievement:
    Development of the operating system, UNIX

Major Honors

1983 Association for Computing Machinery, A.M. Turing Award
1989 NEC, C&C Award
1998 US National Medal of Technology and Innovation for the development of the UNIX operating system
1999 IEEE Tsutomu Kanai Award


1980 Member, US National Academy of Engineering
1985 Member, US National Academy of Science

Academic Degrees

1964 Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
1966 Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley

Professional Career

1966 Research Staff, Bell Labs
1975-76 Visiting Professor, University of California, Berkeley
1983 Fellow, Bell Labs
1988 Visiting Professor, University of Sydney, Australia
2000 Fellow, Entrisphere Inc.
2006 Distinguished Engineer, Google Inc.


  • Distinguished Engineer, Google Inc.

Major Publications

  • K. Thompson, Regular Expression Search Algorithm, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 11, No. 6, pp. 419-422, 1968.
  • D. M. Ritchie and K. Thompson, The UNIX Time-Sharing System, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 17, No. 7, pp. 365-375, 1974.
  • K. Thompson, “Belle Chess Hardware”, In Advances In Computer Chess 3 (ed. M.R.B. Clarke), Pergamon Press, 1982.
  • K. Thompson, Reflections on Trusting Trust, 1983 Turing Award Lecture, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 27, No. 8, pp. 761-763, 1984.
  • R. Pike, D. Presotto, S. Dorward, R. Flandrena, K. Thompson, H. Trickey and P. Winterbottom, Plan 9 from Bell Labs, Computing Systems, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 221-254, 1995.
  • K. Thompson, “How I Spent My Winter Vacation”
  • K. Thompson, et al “The Go Programming Language”
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