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Communications of the ACM


Peter Naur: 1928-2016

painting of Peter Naur

Credit: Duo Duo Zhuang

Peter Naur, a Danish computer scientist and 2005 recipient of the ACM A.M. Turing Award for fundamental contributions to programming language design and the definition of Algol 60, to compiler design, and to the art and practice of computer programming, died January 3 after a brief illness.

Born in Fredricksberg, Denmark, Naur studied astronomy at the University of Copenhagen, where he received his Ph.D. in that field before going to Kings College Cambridge in the 1950s to conduct research both into astronomy and the emerging field of computer programming. As he told Computerworld Denmark in a 2014 interview (, "I had the great privilege to get to Cambridge in the early 1950s. Here I discovered that calculations of planetary motion that could take several hours, could now be carried out in seconds with a computer."


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