Brian Wilson Kernighan (; born 1942) is a Canadian computer scientist. He worked at Bell Labs and contributed to the development of Unix alongside Unix creators Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. Kernighan's name became widely known through co-authorship of the first book on the C programming language (''The C Programming Language'') with Dennis Ritchie. Kernighan affirmed that he had no part in the design of the C language ("it's entirely Dennis Ritchie's work"). He authored many Unix programs, including ditroff. Kernighan is coauthor of the AWK and AMPL programming languages. The "K" of K&R C and the "K" in AWK both stand for "Kernighan". In collaboration with Shen Lin he devised well-known heuristics for two NP-complete optimization problems: graph partitioning and the travelling salesman problem. In a display of authorial equity, the former is usually called the Kernighan–Lin algorithm, while the latter is known as the Lin–Kernighan heuristic. Kernighan has been a Professor of Computer Science at Princeton University since 2000 and is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Computer Science. In 2015, he co-authored the book ''The Go Programming Language''.

Early life and education

Kernighan was born in Toronto. He attended the University of Toronto between 1960 and 1964, earning his Bachelor's degree in engineering physics. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1969, completing a doctoral dissertation titled "Some graph partitioning problems related to program segmentation" under the supervision of Peter G. Weiner.

Career and research

Kernighan has held a professorship in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton since 2000. Each fall he teaches a course called "Computers in Our World", which introduces the fundamentals of computing to non-majors. Kernighan was the software editor for Prentice Hall International. His "Software Tools" series spread the essence of "C/Unix thinking" with makeovers for BASIC, FORTRAN, and Pascal, and most notably his "Ratfor" (rational FORTRAN) was put in the public domain. He has said that if stranded on an island with only one programming language it would have to be C. Kernighan coined the term Unix and helped popularize Thompson's Unix philosophy. Kernighan is also known as a coiner of the expression "What You See Is All You Get" (WYSIAYG), which is a sarcastic variant of the original "What You See Is What You Get" (WYSIWYG). Kernighan's term is used to indicate that WYSIWYG systems might throw away information in a document that could be useful in other contexts. Kernighan's original 1978 implementation of Hello, World! was sold at The Algorithm Auction, the world's first auction of computer algorithms. In 1996, Kernighan taught CS50 which is the Harvard University introductory course in Computer Science. Kernighan was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2002 and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. Other achievements during his career include: * The AMPL programming language * The AWK programming language, with Alfred Aho and Peter J. Weinberger, and its book ''The AWK Programming Language'' * ditroff, or "device independent troff", which allowed troff to be used with any device * ''The Elements of Programming Style'', with P. J. Plauger * The first documented "Hello, world!" program, in Kernighan'
"A Tutorial Introduction to the Language B"
(1972) * Ratfor * ''Software Tools'', a book and set of tools for Ratfor, co-created in part with P. J. Plauger * ''Software Tools in Pascal'', a book and set of tools for Pascal, with P. J. Plauger * ''The C Programming Language'', with C creator Dennis Ritchie, the first book on C * The eqn typesetting language for troff, with Lorinda Cherry * The m4 macro processing language, with Dennis Ritchie * The pic typesetting language for troff * ''The Practice of Programming'', with Rob Pike * ''The Unix Programming Environment'', a tutorial book, with Rob Pike
"Why Pascal is Not My Favorite Programming Language"
a popular criticism of Niklaus Wirth's Pascal. Some parts of the criticism are obsolete due to ISO 7185 (Programming Languages - Pascal); the criticism was written before ISO 7185 was created. (AT&T Computing Science Technical Report #100)


* ''The Elements of Programming Style'' (1974, 1978) with P. J. Plauger * ''Software Tools'' (1976) with P. J. Plauger * ''The C Programming Language'' (1978, 1988) with Dennis M. Ritchie * ''Software Tools in Pascal'' (1981) with P. J. Plauger * ''The Unix Programming Environment'' (1984) with Rob Pike * ''The AWK Programming Language'' (1988) with Alfred Aho and Peter J. Weinberger * ''The Practice of Programming'' (1999) with Rob Pike * ''AMPL: A Modeling Language for Mathematical Programming, 2nd ed.'' (2003) with Robert Fourer and David Gay * ''D is for Digital: What a well-informed person should know about computers and communications'' (2011) * ''The Go Programming Language'' (2015) with Alan Donovan * ''Understanding the Digital World: What You Need to Know about Computers, the Internet, Privacy, and Security'' (2017) * ''Millions, Billions, Zillions: Defending Yourself in a World of Too Many Numbers'' (2018) * ''UNIX: A History and a Memoir'' (2019)UNIX: A History and a Memoir


External links

Brian Kernighan's home page at Bell Labs
nbsp;— By Brian Kernighan, AT&T Bell Labs, 2 April 1981
"Leap In and Try Things" — Interview with Brian Kernighan
nbsp;— on "Harmony at Work Blog", October 2009.

nbsp;— By Mihai Budiu, for ''PC Report Romania'', August 2000 * – Interview by

nbsp;— TechNetCast At Bell Labs: Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan (1999-05-14)
Video (Princeton University, September 7, 2003)
nbsp;— "Assembly for the Class of 2007: 'D is for Digital and Why It Matters'"
A Descent into Limbo
by Brian Kernighan

Video interview with Brian Kernighan for Princeton Startup TV
The Setup, Brian Kernighan
{{DEFAULTSORT:Kernighan, Brian Category:1942 births Category:Living people Category:Canadian computer scientists Category:Canadian computer programmers Category:Computer programmers Category:Inferno (operating system) people Category:Canadian people of Irish descent Category:Writers from Toronto Category:Plan 9 people Category:Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science alumni Category:Princeton University faculty Category:Programming language designers Category:Scientists at Bell Labs Category:Canadian technology writers Category:University of Toronto alumni Category:Unix people Category:C (programming language) Category:Members of the United States National Academy of Engineering Category:Berkman Fellows Category:Scientists from Toronto