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Dennis Ritchie, Bell Labs Researcher and Co-Inventor of Unix, Receives 2005 Industrial Research Institute Achievement Award


NOVEMBER 15, 2005, MURRAY HILL, N.J. — Lucent Technologies (NYSE: LU) Bell Labs today announced that Bell Labs researcher Dennis Ritchie, co-inventor of the UNIX® operating system, has received the 2005 Industrial Research Institute (IRI) Achievement Award.

Established in 1973, the award honors outstanding accomplishments in individual creativity and innovation that contribute broadly to the development of industry and to the benefit of society.

“Dennis has had immeasurable impact on the computing world with the UNIX® operating system and programming language inventions,” said Rod Alferness, senior vice president of Research for Bell Labs. “Much of the software running today’s personal computers and the Internet at large uses technology that Ritchie invented or co-invented.”

Ritchie joined Bell Labs in 1968, focusing his research on the design of computer languages and operating systems. After contributing to the MULTICS time-shared operating system in the 1960’s, he and Bell Labs researcher Ken Thompson created UNIX® — the operating system of most large Internet servers, businesses and universities, and a major part of academic and industrial research in operating systems — in 1969. Later Ritchie designed and implemented the C Language for use on the UNIX® operating system. Prized for its efficiency, C has since spread to many other operating systems and is one of the most widely used programming languages for both system software and applications.

Ritchie’s current research at Bell Labs focuses on further refining the standards and technologies for the C software language. The goal of this research is to increase the reliability and security of this software to the point that it is not only ideal for all sorts of commercial applications but can be relied on to operate in long-term unattended environments such as unmanned space exploration.

Ritchie holds an undergraduate degree in physics, as well as masters and doctoral degrees in applied mathematics from Harvard University. He has been jointly awarded the ACM Turing Award, the IEEE Emmanuel Piore Award, the Richard W. Hamming Medal, and the U.S. Medal of Technology. Ritchie is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Former IRI honorees from Bell Labs include James E. West, who was chosen in 1998 for his work on the invention and development of the foil-electret microphone, an innovation whose ruggedness, superior quality, and low cost have made it the dominant commercial microphone worldwide.

The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) comprises leaders in research and development (R&D) working together to enhance the effectiveness of technological innovation in industry.

About Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies
Bell Labs is the leading source of new communications technologies and has been for 80 years. It has generated more than 31,000 patents since 1925 and has played a pivotal role in inventing or perfecting key communications technologies, including transistors, digital networking and signal processing, lasers and fiber-optic communications systems, communications satellites, cellular telephony, electronic switching of calls, touch-tone dialing, and modems. Bell Labs scientists have received six Nobel Prizes in Physics, nine U.S. National Medals of Science and eight U.S. National Medals of Technology. For more information about Bell Labs, visit its Web site at

Lucent Technologies designs and delivers the systems, services and software that drive next-generation communications networks. Backed by Bell Labs research and development, Lucent uses its strengths in mobility, optical, software, data and voice networking technologies, as well as services, to create new revenue-generating opportunities for its customers, while enabling them to quickly deploy and better manage their networks. Lucent’s customer base includes communications service providers, governments and enterprises worldwide. For more information on Lucent Technologies, which has headquarters in Murray Hill, N.J., USA, visit


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