Niklaus Emil Wirth

IRL Name: 
Niklaus Emil Wirth

Niklaus Emil Wirth (born 15 February 1934) is a Swiss computer scientist. He has pioneered several classic topics in software engineering.

Wirth was the chief designer of the programming languages Euler (1965), PL360 (1966), ALGOL W (1966), Pascal (1970), Modula (1975), Modula-2 (1978), Oberon (1987), Oberon-2 (1991), and Oberon-07 (2007). He was also a major part of the design and implementation team for the operating systems Medos-2 (1983, for the Lilith workstation), and Oberon (1987, for the Ceres workstation), and for the Lola (1995) digital hardware design and simulation system. In 1984, he received the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Turing Award for the development of these languages. In 1994, he was inducted as a Fellow of the ACM.


The latest version of the Oberon System, Project Oberon 2013, is still maintained by Niklaus Wirth and several collaborators, but older ETH versions of the system have been orphaned.

In 1995, he popularized the adage now named Wirth's law, which states that software is getting slower more rapidly than hardware becomes faster.