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Jerome H. Saltzer
|Known for||Multics, Project Athena|
|Awards||2010 Computer System Security Award of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)|
|Thesis||Traffic control in a multiplexed computer system (1966)|
|Doctoral advisor||Fernando J. Corbató|
One of his earliest involvements with computers was with MIT's Compatible Time-Sharing System in the early 1960s. In the later 1960s and early 1970s, he was one of the team leaders of the Multics operating system project. Multics, though not particularly commercially successful in itself, has had a major impact on all subsequent operating systems; in particular, it was an inspiration for Ken Thompson to develop Unix. His contributions to Multics included the now-standard kernel stack switching method of process switching, as well as often-cited work on the security architecture for shared information systems.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the research group he led, the Computer Systems Research group of MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, was one of the key players in the development of the Internet and ring network technology for local area networks, during which he patented the Proteon ProNet ring network. Another contribution in that area was the end-to-end principle in systems design, which is one of the important underlying principles that governs the operation of the Internet.
From 1984 to 1988 he served as Technical Director of MIT's Project Athena. "Saltzer@mit.edu" is one of the few Athena usernames with a capital letter, and legend has it that several special case hacks were required to support this functionality. In September 1995 he retired from his full-time faculty position, but continued writing and teaching part-time at MIT.
Saltzer is known to all (colleagues, students, friends and family) as "Jerry". In 1961 he married Marlys Anne Hughes. They have two children: Rebecca (born 1962) and Sarah (born 1963). He has two grandchildren: Hannah (born 1997), and Caroline (born 1999), both Sarah's.
Saltzer has been a designer or the inspiration for a number of important pieces of systems software, which are either still in use or have descendants still being used today:
Additionally, while Technical Director of Project Athena, he was supportive of the development of the X Window System, an open-source windowing system, still used and developed to this day on Unix-like systems.
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