Charles P. Thacker

Charles Patrick " Chuck" Thacker ( born February 26 1943 in Pasadena, California) is the head of a research group at Microsoft Research in Silicon Valley, which deals with Reconfigurable Computing, and Turing award winner. He was involved in the development of the first PC with a graphical user interface ( Xerox Alto), the Ethernet, and tablet PCs as well as the construction of three major research centers.


Thacker is the son of an engineer and studied at Caltech, then at the University of California, Los Angeles, and finally in 1967 to acquire at the University of California, Berkeley Bachelor's degree in physics. In order to pre-finance postgraduate studies, he worked as a mechanic and electrical engineer, and was then a member of Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider Project Genie at the University of Berkeley, where the time-sharing system was developed SDS 940. Thacker began to be interested in computers, and learned German and Peter L. Butler Lampson know. With these he founded the spin-off Berkeley Computer Corp.. , But came soon after the construction of the multi-processor computer BCC -500, whose processors and memories of Thacker, was dissolved.

Thacker and some colleagues were taken in 1970 to the newly formed Xerox Palo Alto Research Center ( PARC ), where he first co-developed the Multiple Access Xerox Computer ( MAXC ), the first time-sharing system with semiconductor memory. Building on this work, Thacker was finally project manager for the development of the Xerox Alto personal computer (with Butler Lampson, Ed McCreight and others). He designed the CPU whose microcode and the display controller for the machine. He was also a co- inventor of the Ethernet LAN method ( with Robert Metcalfe, David Boggs and others) and was instrumental in many other projects, including the development of the first laser printer. Thacker moved from Xerox PARC Xerox Systems Development Department, where he was involved in the development of computers such as the Xerox Dorado and the Xerox D0, which was eventually passed on to the Xerox PARC, which also Thacker went back to PARC.

1983 Thacker left with Robert W. Taylor, Butler Lampson, and other Xerox and founded in 1984 with them the Systems Research Center (SRC ) of the Digital Equipment Corporation ( DEC). He developed there, among other things, the ADU ( Alpha Demonstration Unit), the first computer with the Alpha processor, and the Firefly system, the first multiprocessor workstation, and the network technology GigaSwitch / ATM.

From about 1991 Thacker was in talks with Microsoft, where he saw first a place for himself, but then advocated the establishment of a Microsoft Research offshoot in Silicon Valley. Nathan Myhrvold in 1997 recruited him finally to two years to participate with Roger Needham at the development of Microsoft's research center in Cambridge, England. After his return to the United States Thacker developed the hardware for Microsoft's Tablet PC, based on its experience with the interim Dynabook at PARC, and the stylus -based in the hand-held computer Lectrice at DEC SRC. Then Thacker moved to the meantime but the CNRS in Mountain View in Silicon Valley.

Thacker has been married since 1964 and has two daughters.


Thacker is Technical Fellow of Microsoft, a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM ) and the Computer History Museum, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2004 Thacker was awarded the Charles Stark Draper Prize, along with Alan Kay, Butler Lampson, and Robert W. Taylor. 1996 Thacker received an honorary doctorate from the ETH Zurich in recognition of his far-sighted concept of the first workstation Alto, his pioneering contributions to the first local computer network Ethernet and for his original ideas in the construction of high-performance networks. 2007 Thacker was awarded the John von Neumann Medal " for a central role in the creation of the personal computer and the development of networked computer systems." In 2010 he was awarded the Turing Award by the ACM, among other things for his role in the development of the first modern PCs.