Wilkes is best known as the builder and designer of the EDSAC, the first computer with an internally stored program. Built in 1949, the EDSAC used a mercury delay line memory. He is also known as the author, with Wheeler and Gill, of a volume on "Preparation of Programs for Electronic Digital Computers" in 1951, in which program libraries were effectively introduced.
For his research in numerical analysis to facilitate the use of the high-speed digital computer, having received special recognition for his work in computations in linear algebra and "backward" error analysis.
Edsger Dijkstra was a principal contributor in the late 1950s to the development of the ALGOL, a high level programming language which has become a model of clarity and mathematical rigor. He is one of the principal proponents of the science and art of programming languages in general, and has greatly contributed to our understanding of their structure, representation, and implementation. His fifteen years of publications extend from theoretical articles on graph theory to basic manuals, expository texts, and philosophical contemplations in the field of programming languages.
For his major contributions to the analysis of algorithms and the design of programming languages, and in particular for his contributions to "The Art of Computer Programming" through his well-known books in a continuous series by this title.
In joint scientific efforts extending over twenty years, initially in collaboration with J. C. Shaw at the RAND Corporation, and subsequently with numerous faculty and student colleagues at Carnegie Mellon University, they have made basic contributions to artificial intelligence, the psychology of human cognition, and list processing.
For their joint paper "Finite Automata and Their Decision Problem," which introduced the idea of nondeterministic machines, which has proved to be an enormously valuable concept. Their (Scott & Rabin) classic paper has been a continuous source of inspiration for subsequent work in this field.
For profound, influential, and lasting contributions to the design of practical high-level programming systems, notably through his work on FORTRAN, and for seminal publication of formal procedures for the specification of programming languages.
For his pioneering effort in programming languages and mathematical notation resulting in what the computing field now knows as APL, for his contributions to the implementation of interactive systems, to educational uses of APL, and to programming language theory and practice.
For his continuing contributions to the theory of algorithms including the development of efficient algorithms for network flow and other combinatorial optimization problems, the identification of polynomial-time computability with the intuitive notion of algorithmic efficiency, and, most notably, contributions to the theory of NP-completeness.
For pioneering the design and construction of large scale artificial intelligence systems, demonstrating the practical importance and potential commercial impact of artificial intelligence technology.
For transformative contributions to the theory of computation, including the theory of probably approximately correct (PAC) learning, the complexity of enumeration and of algebraic computation, and the theory of parallel and distributed computing.
For transformative work that laid the complexity-theoretic foundations for the science of cryptography and in the process pioneered new methods for efficient verification of mathematical proofs in complexity theory.
For fundamental contributions to the theory and practice of distributed and concurrent systems, notably the invention of concepts such as causality and logical clocks, safety and liveness, replicated state machines, and sequential consistency.
For fundamental contributions to modern cryptography. Diffie and Hellman's groundbreaking 1976 paper, "New Directions in Cryptography," introduced the ideas of public-key cryptography and digital signatures, which are the foundation for most regularly-used security protocols on the Internet today.