I am watching a recording of a discussion panel ‘Unix50 - Unix Today and Tomorrow’, part of which contains Bjarne Stroustrup’s talk ‘From C to C++’, discussing the history of C++.

At 20:46 there is a slide with a rough graph of some programming languages’ influences and photos of the people associated with them.

A slide entitled ‘Programming Languages’, with a graph depicting programming languages and sources of their influence.

What are the names of the people in the photos?

I got Dennis Ritchie for C and Bjarne Stroustrup for C++, who is the speaker.

I don't know the one for Simula, Fortran and Assembler.


1 Answer 1


I managed to find the exact same three photos Stroustrup used in his slide:

  • Simula: Kristen Nygaard, who co-designed Simula with Ole-Johan Dahl;
  • Fortran: John Backus, who headed the team that developed Fortran;
  • Assembler: David John Wheeler, who worked on what would today be called a relocating assembler for the EDSAC, an early programmable computer (paper), and is also credited with the invention of the concept of a subroutine.
  • 4
    It should be mandatory for all programmers to know the name of David Wheeler :-) The link, however, is inaccurate. Wheeler was British, born in Birmingham, UK.
    – dave
    Mar 28, 2021 at 17:18
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    I think the claim to assembler is due to his Initial Orders for the EDSAC. Admittedly the instruction mnemonics were identical to the opcode (so 'A' was literally the Add opcode) but the rest of it is surely the ur-assembler. Link
    – dave
    Mar 28, 2021 at 17:25
  • 3
    Right, if the paper says ‘programme’, he must have been British. Mar 28, 2021 at 17:41
  • 2
    Well, not only that, there's his entire history :-) Wikipedia seems to be accurate.
    – dave
    Mar 28, 2021 at 17:48
  • 1
    Wheeler also had Stroustrup as a doctoral student. Mar 29, 2021 at 22:47

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