1972 – E. W. Dijkstra

The working vocabulary of programmers everywhere is studded with words originated or forcefully promulgated by E.W. Dijkstra - display, deadly embrace, semaphore, got-to-less programming, structured programming. But his influence on programming is more pervasive than any glossary cna possibly indicate. The precious gift that this Turing Award acknowledges is Dijkstra's style: his approach to programming as a high, intellectual challenge; his eloquent insistence and practical demonstration that programs should be composed correctly, not just debugged into correctness; and his illuminating perception of problems at the foundations of program design. He has published about a dozen papers, both technical and reflective, among which are especially to be noted his philosophical address at IFIP, his already classic papers on cooperating sequential processes, and his memorable indictment of the go-to statement. An influential series of letters by Dijkstra have recently surfaced as a polished monograph on the art of composing programs. We have come to value good programs in much the same way as we value good literature. And at the center of this movement, creating and reflecting patters no less beautiful than useful, stands E.W. Dijkstra.

[Extract from the Turing award Citation ready by M.D. McIlroy, chairman of the ACM Turing Award Committee, at the presentatiion of his lecture on August 14, 1972, at the ACM Annual Conference in Boston.]

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