Dr Charles Simonyi

Dr Charles Simonyi, the benefactor of the Simonyi Professorship at the University of Oxford, is an internationally renowned computer scientist who has been one of the most influential figures behind the development of the personal computer revolution.

Dr Charles Simonyi

The originator of the "Hungarian Notation" used in computer programming, Charles Simonyi defected from Hungary as a student, ending up at the renowned Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Here, he was the driving force in the development of Bravo, the first WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) word-processor. Bravo was representative of a novel visual approach which enabled new means of interation between humans and computers.

Moving to the then nascent Microsoft Corporation, Charles Simonyi became responsible for teams which developed, among others, the popular software packages Word and Excel. Chief Software Architect at Microsoft from 1981-1991, he then moved on to a position in Microsoft Research. This enabled him to pursue research into Intentional Programming, a way of extracting the essential information present in computer programs. He envisages that the removal of conventional programming languages from the construction of the human-computer interface has the potential to lead to a new economics of computer software development

In 2001, he left Microsoft in order to set up the Intentional Software Corporation with Professor Gregor Kiczales of Xerox PARC.

He is a strong supporter of science, and has endowed not only the Charles Simonyi Professorship in the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, but also the Charles Simonyi Professorship in Theoretical Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, a post currently held by Edward Witten.

Dr Simonyi is currently involved with the development of Intentional Programming, having co-founded the Intentional Software Corporation. The ultimate end point of Intentional Programming is the death of conventional computer languages, the intentions of the programmer being abstracted into a higher-level structural representation. He discusses Intentional Programming in an interview with John Brockmann, to be found on the Edge website, and more detail is given in his Paper for the 2001 Vanderbilt Workshop.

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