Adriaan van Wijngaarden
|Died||7 February 1987 (aged 70)|
|Alma mater||Delft University of Technology (1939)|
Van Wijngaarden grammar
|Awards||IEEE Computer Pioneer Award (1986)|
|Institutions||University of Amsterdam|
Mathematisch Centrum in Amsterdam
|Doctoral advisor||Cornelis Benjamin Biezeno|
|Doctoral students||Edsger W. Dijkstra|
Peter van Emde Boas
Jaco de Bakker
Reinder van de Riet
Adriaan "Aad" van Wijngaarden (2 November 1916 – 7 February 1987) was a Dutch mathematician and computer scientist. Trained as an engineer, Van Wijngaarden would emphasize and promote the mathematical aspects of computing, first in numerical analysis, then in programming languages and finally in design principles of such languages.
His education was in mechanical engineering, for which he received a degree from Delft University of Technology in 1939. He then studied for a doctorate in hydrodynamics, but abandoned the field. He joined the Nationaal Luchtvaartlaboratorium in 1945 and went with a group to England the next year to learn about new technologies that had been developed there during World War II.
Van Wijngaarden was intrigued by the new idea of automatic computing. On 1 January 1947, he became the head of the Computing Department of the brand-new Mathematisch Centrum (MC) in Amsterdam. He then made further visits to England and the United States, gathering ideas for the construction of the first Dutch computer, the ARRA, an electromechanical device first demonstrated in 1952. In that same year, Van Wijngaarden hired Edsger Dijkstra, and they worked on software for the ARRA.
in 1958, while visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, Van Wijngaarden was seriously injured in an automobile accident in which his wife was killed. After he recovered, he focused more on programming language research.
In 1959, he became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In 1961, he became the director of the Mathematisch Centrum in Amsterdam and remained in that post for the next twenty years.
He was one of the designers of the original ALGOL language, and later ALGOL 68, for which he developed a two-level type of formal grammar that became known as a Van Wijngaarden grammar.
In 1962, he became involved with developing international standards in programming and informatics, as a member of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) IFIP Working Group 2.1 on Algorithmic Languages and Calculi, which specified, maintains, and supports the programming languages ALGOL 60 and ALGOL 68.
Awarded every 5 years from the 60th anniversary of Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in 2006. Consists of a bronze sculpture.