JAOO Logo
Conference Exhibition Organizer Registration Home
Schedule Sessions Tutorials Speakers Symposium Event
JAOO 2000
Kristen Nygaard, Creator of Simula
Keynote: Object Orientation - Past, Present and Future. A Personal View.

Monday 17:15 - 18:00

Kristen Nygaard was born in 1926 in Oslo, Norway. He 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".

Kristen 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 operational research groups in the Norwegian defense. He was Cofounder and first chairman of the Norwegian Operational Research Society (1959-1964). In 1960 he was employed by the Norwegian Computing Center, becoming its Director of Research in 1962, responsible for building up the NCC as a research institute in the 1960s.

Together with Ole-Johan Dahl he developed SIMULA I (1961-65) and SIMULA 67 - the first object oriented programming languages, introducing the concepts upon which all later object-oriented programming languages are built. He did research for Norwegian trade unions on planning, control, and data processing, all evaluated in light of the objectives of organized labor (1971-1973, together with Olav Terje Bergo). Other research and development work included: the social impact of computer technology, and the general system description language DELTA (1973-1975, together with Erik Holbaek-Hanssen and Petter Haandlykken).

Kristen Nygaard was professor in Aarhus, Denmark (1975-1976) and then became professor in Oslo (part-time from 1977, full time 1984-1996). His work in Aarhus and Oslo has included research and education in system development and the social impact of computer technology. In 1987 he was Visiting Professor at Stanford University, Palo Alto,USA, Visiting Scientist at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto and a consultant and lecturer at Apple's Advanced Technology Group.

In June 1990 he was promoted to Doctor Honoris Causa at Lund University, Sweden, and in June 1991 he became the first Doctor Honoris Causa to be promoted at Aalborg University, Denmark. In October 1990 the American association Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility awarded him its Norbert Wiener Prize for responsibility in social and professional work. In 1992 he was awarded Computerworld's honorary prize for "having made Norway known internationally in the information technology field"." In 1999 he became - together with Ole-Johan Dahl - the first to receive the Rosing Prize. The Rosing Prize is the new prize awarded by the Norwegian Data Association for exceptional professional achievements. He is a member of The Norwegian Academy of Science.

From 1976 he has been engaged in the development and (since 1986) the implementation of the a new general object oriented programming language BETA (together with Bent Bruun Kristensen, Ole Lehrmann Madsen and Birger Moeller-Pedersen). The language is now available on a wide range of computers.

Kristen Nygaard was chairman of the Steering Committee of the Scandinavian research program SYDPOL (System Development and Profession Oriented Languages) coordinating research and supporting Working Groups in System Development, Language Research and Artificial Intelligence.

He was chairman of the Steering Committee for the Cost-13 (European Common Market Commision) financed European research project on the study of the extensions of profession oriented languages necessary when Artificial Intelligence and information technology are becoming part of professional work.

Kristen Nygaard's current research is related to distributed systems. He is the leader of GOODS (General Object-Oriented Distributes Systems), a three-year Norwegian Research Council-supported project starting in 1997, aiming at enriching object-oriented languages and system development methods by new basic concepts that make it possible to describe the relation between layered and/or distributed programs and the hardware and people carrying out these programs. The GOODS team also include Haakon Bryhni, Dag Sj┐berg and Ole Sm┐rdal. He is also heading a team at the Norwegian Computing Center, aiming at establishing a commercial implementation of the GOODS ideas. This project is called STAGE (STAGing Environments).

Kristen Nygaards current interests also comprises studies of the didactical aspects of introductory teaching of programming and discussions about the definitions of informatics as a science.