Charles Simonyi

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Charles Simonyi ("Simonyi Károly" in Hungarian) is a computer software developer who, as the head of Microsoft's application software group, oversaw the creation of that company's flagship applications.


Biography

Simonyi was born in Budapest, Hungary on September 10, 1948. While in high school he worked part-time as a night watchman at a computer laboratory. He took an interest in computing and learned to program from one of the laboratory's engineers. By the time he graduated high school he had learned to develop compilers and sold one of these to a government department. He was hired by Denmark's A/S Regnecentralen in 1966 and moved to the United States in 1968 to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1972.

Simonyi continued to Stanford University for graduate studies and was hired by Xerox PARC during its most productive period, working alongside luminaries Alan Kay, Butler Lampson and Robert Metcalfe. He and Lampson developed Bravo, the first WYSIWYG document preparation program.

In 1981, at Metcalfe's suggestion, he applied directly to Bill Gates for a job at Microsoft. At Microsoft Simonyi oversaw the development of what became its most profitable products, Word and Excel, and Excel's predecessor Multiplan.

He introduced the techniques of object-oriented programming that he had learned at Xerox and developed the Hungarian notation for naming variables. Simonyi also tested a software management method that had been the subject of his dissertation, called metaprogramming. Metaprogramming placed all design decisions in a single "metaprogrammer," with other programmers focusing strictly on implementing the metaprogrammer's design. The technique did not succeed.

Simonyi remained at Microsoft during its meteoric rise in the software industry, becoming one of its highest-ranking developers. He left abruptly in 2002 to co-found, with business partner Gregor Kiczales, a company called Intentional Software (http://www.intentionalsoftware.com/). This company markets the intentional programming concepts Simonyi developed at Microsoft Research.

He donated funds to Oxford University to establish the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science, the first occupant of the position is Richard Dawkins.

External links

hu:Charles Simonyi

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