Microsoft boffin gets Turing Award

A top Microsoft boffin has just been awarded one of tech’s most coveted prices.

Charles Thacker, who now works for Redmond, helped design and build what is widely considered the first PC.

While he was working at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research centre in the 1970s, Thacker led the hardware development for the Alto.

The Alto featured display and other technologies that helped inspire future PCs.

Thacker, 67, also was the co-inventor of Ethernet networking technology which makes him a double inventor.

Thacker said he was flabbergasted to get the award because it was never given to people like him.

Most who got a Turing Award were software people or theoreticians. There are scant few people who have actually built some hardware.

The Turing Award is funded by Google and Intel. It is named for the mathematician Alan Turing.  After inventing modern computing Turing killed himself by eating a poisoned apple when his homosexuality was about to be revealed.  He was ignored for decades by an embarrassed government.   Apple went on to make expensive computer toys for the technologically challenged.