LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., 23 April 2014 – Linus Torvalds, the principal force behind development of the Linux kernel and overseer of open source development for the Linux operating system, has been named the 2014 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Computer Pioneer Award
Torvalds, a native of Helsinki, Finland, began working on the Linux kernel in 1991. An avid computer programmer, he authored many gaming applications in his early years. He did his early work on an Intel 386 CPU, using Minix, an Unix-inspired operating system created by Andrew Tanenbaum for use as a teaching tool. After Torvalds formed a team of volunteers to work on the Linux kernel, V1.0 was released in the spring of 1994.
Torvalds in 1996 joined Transmeta, a California-based startup that was designing an energy-saving central processing unit (CPU). He continued to oversee kernel development for Linux, and in 2003 left Transmeta to focus exclusively on the Linux kernel as a Fellow at The Linux Foundation (known at the time as Open Source Development Labs). Torvalds remains the ultimate authority on what new code is incorporated into the standard Linux kernel.
Torvalds is the recipient of the Technology Academy of Finland’s Millennium Technology Prize (2012), NEC’s C&C Prize (2010), the Takreda Award for Social/Economic Well-Being (2008), the British Computer Society’s Lovelace Medal (2000), and the Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award (1998). In addition, he was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame (2012) and the Computer History Museum’s Hall of Fellows (2008).
The Computer Pioneer Award was established in 1981 by the IEEE Computer Society Board of Governors to recognize and honor the vision of those whose efforts resulted in the creation and continued vitality of the computer industry. The award is presented to outstanding individuals whose main contribution to the concepts and development of the computer field was made at least 15 years earlier. The recognition is engraved on a bronze medal.
Recent Pioneer Award recipients include ENIAC programmer Betty Jean Jennings Bartik, VLSI expert Lynn Conway, artificial intelligence innovator Edward Feigenbaum, parallel programming pioneer David Kuck, digital systems designer Edward McCluskey, MATLAB creator Cleve Moler, petri net theory developer Carl Petri, and programming languages pioneer Jean Sammet. View more information about the Pioneer Award.