Dennis Ritchie was born in Bronx-ville, New York on September 9, 1941 to Alistair Ritchie and Jean McGee Ritchie. He attended Harvard University and graduated with a bachelor's degree in physics where he developed a passion for computers and computer programming. He got a job working at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology helping develop computer systems.
Once he graduated, Ritchie went to work at Bell Labs, where his father had worked. There, Ritchie and Kenneth Thompson worked together for months to create a simpler way to interact between computers, resulting in Unix, a cheap, compatable, easy-to-understand operating system that could be used on just about any computer.
Ritchie is most widely known for developing the computer language C in the 1970s as a substitute to assembly language, the language Unix was written in, in order to create a more user-friendly way to interact with a computer and to create executable code. C is the successor to B, the language Ritchie initially coined, but to keep up with Bell Labs' advancing hardware Ritchie edited his language to match. Soon, his language was powerful enough to completely rewrite Unix with his higher-power system. C became extremely popular, and remains the most used programming language today.
C is a programming language like Fortran, and is found abundantly throughout the modern world in many computers. C was used to write the most widespread Unix operating system that later technological great Steve Jobs would rely on to underpin the Mac OS X. It strongly influenced following programming languages, such as Java and Perl.
- Brain, Marshall, and Stephanie Crawford. "How C Programming Works" 06 July 2011. HowStuffWorks.com. <http://computer.howstuffworks.com/c.htm> 13 October 2011.
- Ritchie, Dennis. <http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/dmr/> 13 October 2011.