[Marxism] Reflections on the passing of John McCarthy and Dennis Ritchie

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 26 13:02:24 MDT 2011

Two towering figures in computing died this month, besides Steve 
Jobs. A good case can be made that their contributions are as 
great as his, if not greater. The first was Dennis Ritchie who 
died at the age of 70 on October 13th. Ritchie invented the C 
programming language and the Unix operating system, two of the 
technologies that are key to the distributed computing today that 
makes the Internet possible. The other is John McCarthy who died 
yesterday at the age of 84. Like McCarthy, Ritchie was a major 
innovator in both languages and operating systems. He was the 
father of time-sharing, the key component of mainframe operating 
systems that allowed multiple users to access the computer as if 
they were the exclusive owner. McCarthy went on to become a 
pioneer of artificial intelligence and created a language called 
LISP that is widely used in this arena.


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