Kristen Nygaard

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Kristen Nygaard (August 27, 1926 – August 10, 2002) was a Norwegian computer scientist, programming language pioneer and politician. He was born in Oslo and died of a heart attack in 2002.


Object-oriented programming

Internationally he is acknowledged as the co-inventor of object-oriented programming and the programming language Simula with Ole-Johan Dahl in the 1960s. Object-oriented programming enables software developers to manage the complexity of computer systems.[citation needed]

Nygaard got his master's degree in mathematics at the University of Oslo in 1956. His thesis on abstract probability theory was entitled "Theoretical Aspects of Monte Carlo Methods".

Nygaard worked full time at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment from 1948 to 1960 - in computing and programming (1948–1954) and operational research (1952–1960).

From 1957 to 1960 he was head of the first operations research groups in the Norwegian defense establishment. He was cofounder and first chairman of the Norwegian Operational Research Society (1959–1964). In 1960 he was hired by the Norwegian Computing Center (NCC), responsible for building up the NCC as a research institute in the 1960s, becoming its Director of Research in 1962.

Together with Ole-Johan Dahl he developed SIMULA I (1961–1965) and SIMULA-67 - the first object-oriented programming languages, introducing the concepts upon which all later object-oriented programming languages are built: objects, classes, inheritance, virtual quantities and multi-threaded (quasi-parallel) program execution. In 2004, AITO established an annual prize in the name of Ole-Johan Dahl and Kristen Nygaard to honor their pioneering work on object-orientation. The AITO Dahl-Nygaard prize is awarded annually to two individuals that have made significant technical contributions to the field of Object-Orientation. The work should be in the spirit of the pioneer conceptual and/or implementation work of Dahl and Nygaard which shaped our present view of object-oriented programming. The prize is presented each year at the ECOOP conference. The prize consists of two awards given to a senior and to a junior professional.

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