Microsoft boffin wins geek gong

Microsoft engineer Charles 'Chuck' Thacker has been given this year's Turing Award - the techie equivalent of a Nobel Prize.

The award, which is named in honour of computing pioneer and wartime code-breaker Alan Turing, was given in recognition of Thacker's work on what some consider to be the first modern personal computer - the Alto at Xerox PARC - as well as ground-breaking contributions to the invention of Ethernet, multiprocessor workstations, snooping cache coherence protocols, and tablet computers.

The citation says that, during the 70s and early 80s at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Chuck was a central systems designer and main pragmatic engineering force behind many of PARC's technologies, including Alto, the first computer with a bit-map screen to run graphical user interfaces with WYSIWYG displays from which all modern computers are descended.