Peter Naur (of Backus Naur fame) has been named the recipient of ACM's 2005 A.M. Turing Award for his groundbreaking work defining the Algol 60 programming language, which would become the model for numerous subsequent languages, including many that are indispensable to software engineering. Named for the British mathematician Alan M. Turing and often recognized as the Nobel Prize for computing, the award features a $100,000 prize. Naur edited the "Report on the Algorithmic Language Algol 60," defining program syntax with what would come to be known as Backus-Naur Form. The award also recognizes Naur's work in compiler design, as well as the art and practice of programming. "Dr. Naur's Algol 60 embodied the notion of elegant simplicity for algorithmic expression," said Intel CTO Justin Rattner. "This award should encourage future language designers who are addressing today's biggest programming challenges, such as general-purpose, multi-threaded computation, to achieve that same level of elegance and simplicity that was the hallmark of Algol 60." The late Edsger Dijkstra, recipient of ACM's 1972 Turing Award, credited Naur's work with elevating automatic computing to a legitimate academic pursuit. Until Naur's report, languages had been informally defined by their support manuals and the compiler code. The manual gave precise and economical definitions to both syntax and semantics. After the publication of Algol 60, Naur co-authored the GIER Algol Compiler. Microsoft's James Gray, who chaired the 2005 Turing Committee and is the recipient of the 1998 Turing Award, hailed Naur's contribution as a "watershed" that introduced many of the programming conventions that are taken for granted today. Naur is also credited as a pioneer in establishing software design as a discipline. Naur will receive the award at the annual ACM Awards Banquet on May 20, 2006, in San Francisco.
Here is the link to all 2005 Award Recipients. And here is the press release.