Industrial Research Institute Presents 2005 IRI Achievement Award to Dr. Dennis M. Ritchie


Arlington, VA – November 14, 2005 - The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) announces today that it presented the 2005 IRI Achievement Award to Dennis M. Ritchie, co-inventor of the UNIX® operating system.  The award was presented a ceremony in conjunction with the IRI 2005 Fall Meeting in Charleston, South Carolina.

Established in 1973, the award honors outstanding accomplishments in individual creativity and innovation that contribute broadly to the development of industry and to the benefit of society.

"Dennis has had immeasurable impact on the computing world with the UNIX® operating system and programming language inventions," said Rod Alferness, senior vice president of Research for Bell Labs. "Much of the software running today’s personal computers and the Internet at large uses technology that Ritchie invented or co-invented."

Dr. Dennis M. Ritchie is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Lucent Technologies/Bell Laboratories.  The co-creator of the UNIX operating system and of the C programming language with Kenneth L. Thompson, he received his B.A. degree in Physics in 1963, his M.A. in Applied Mathematics in 1965, and his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1967 from Harvard University.  Much of the progress of computer hardware, software, and networks during the past quarter century can be traced to Ritchie and Thompson’s creations.  These inventions were a highly important breakthrough as they created an operating system that was not dependent on a particular computing machine.  Without operating systems, computer hardware is useless.  Before UNIX, operating systems were large, vendor-specific, and designed to cope with particular features of a given machine.  UNIX was the first commercially important portable operating system, usable almost without change across the span of hardware from the smallest laptops to supercomputers.  It embodies visionary ideas—deliberate generality and openness—that continue to be a strong force today.  Many of its approaches and notations influence the entire span of operating systems.  Today, UNIX and C are used by many universities, businesses, and most Internet servers.  Their impact is still growing strongly. 

Dr. Ritchie continues with very active research in distributed operating systems, languages, and routing/switching hardware in Bell Labs.  His research continues to have a direct and measurable impact on Lucent’s $9 billion dollar network equipment and services business.  He has received numerous awards, has authored and co-authored over 30 publications.

About The Industrial Research Institute The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) is the foremost business association of leaders in research and development (R&D) working together to enhance the effectiveness of technological innovation in industry. Founded in 1938 through the National Research Council, the IRI comprises senior executives from a diverse range of industries whose member companies are investing over $70 billion annually in R&D worldwide. The IRI is the only cross-industry organization providing the R&D community with insights, solutions and best practices in innovation management developed through collaborative knowledge creation. For more information, call 703-647-2580 or visit the organization's Web site at