Maurice Wilkes

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Maurice WilkesName: Maurice Wilkes

Born: June 26, 1913, Dudley, Worcestershire, England, UK

Death: November 29, 2010 (Age: 97)

Computer-related contributions

  • British computer scientist best known as the builder and designer of the EDSAC, the first computer with an internally stored program.
  • Developed the concept of microprogramming, which arose from his realization that a CPU can be controlled by a miniature, highly specialised computer program stored in high-speed ROM. First implemented in the EDSAC 2.
  • Credited with the idea of symbolic labels, macros, and subroutine libraries. These are fundamental developments that made programming much easier and paved the way for high-level programming languages.

Significant publications

  • Time-sharing Computer Systems. Elsevier, (1975).
  • Automatic Digital Computers. John Wiley & Sons, New York, (1956).
  • The Preparation of Programs for an Electronic Digital Computer by Maurice Wilkes, David Wheeler, and Stanley Gill; (original 1951).

Honors and awards

  • Mountbatten Medal (1997).
  • Faraday Medal (1981).
  • Turing Award (1967).


"Since 1954, the raw speed of computers, as measured by the time it takes to do an addition, increased by a factor of 10,000. That means an algorithm that once took 10 minutes to perform can now be done 15 times a second."

"Students sometimes ask my advice on how to get rich. The best advice I can give them is to dig up some old algorithm that once took forever, program it for a modern workstation, form a startup to market it and then get rich."