Edsger Dijkstra

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Edsger DijkstraName: Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

Born: May 11, 1930, in Rotterdam, Netherlands

Death: August 6, 2002 (Age: 72)

Computer-related contributions

  • Dutch computer scientist known for Dijkstra's algorithm, Structured programming, the multiprogramming system, and Semaphore.
  • Dijkstra was one of the early pioneers in the field of distributed computing.
  • Helped with the development of ALGOL.
  • Used the eight queens problem to publish a description of a backtracking algorithm for programming.
  • Developed the Shortest Path Algorithm.

Significant publications

  • Letters to the editor: go to statement considered harmful (1968).
  • The Humble Programmer (1972).
  • How do we tell truths that might hurt? (1982).
  • Guarded commands, nondeterminacy, and formal derivation of program (1975).
  • A Discipline of Programming, Prentice-Hall Series in Automatic Computation (1976).
  • A Method of Programming(1988).
  • Predicate Calculus and Program Semantics. (1990).

Honors and awards

  • Member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (1971).
  • Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society (1971).
  • The Association for Computing Machinery's A.M. Turing Award (1972).
  • Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1975).
  • Doctor of Science Honoris Causa from the Queen's University Belfast (1976).
  • Computer Pioneer Charter Recipient from the IEEE Computer Society (1982).
  • Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (1994).
  • Honorary doctorate from the Athens University of Economics & Business, Greece (2001).
  • Computer and Communications Prize (NEC Foundation), Japan (2002).


"Simplicity is a great virtue but it requires hard work to achieve it and education to appreciate it."

"I think of the company advertising "Thought Processors" or the college pretending that learning BASIC suffices or at least helps, whereas the teaching of BASIC should be rated as a criminal offence: it mutilates the mind beyond recovery."