Peter Wegner

Peter Wegner
Born (1932-08-20)August 20, 1932[1]
Leningrad, USSR
Died July 27, 2017(2017-07-27) (aged 84)[1][2]
Alma mater University of London[3]
Awards Fellow of the ACM  (1995)
Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class  (1999)
Scientific career
Fields Computer science
Institutions University of London
University of Cambridge
Brown University
Thesis Programming Languages, Information Structures And Machine Organization (1968)
Doctoral advisor Maurice Wilkes[3]
Doctoral students William Cook[3]

Peter A.[4] Wegner (August 20, 1932 – July 27, 2017) was a computer scientist who made significant contributions to both the theory of object-oriented programming during the 1980s and to the relevance of the Church–Turing thesis for empirical aspects of computer science during the 1990s and present. In 2016, Wegner wrote a brief autobiography for Conduit, the annual Brown University Computer Science department magazine.[1][5][6][7][8][9]


Wegner was educated at University of Cambridge and received a Post-Graduate Diploma in Numerical Analysis and Automatic Computing in 1954, at a time when there were no PhD programs in computer science.[1] He was awarded a PhD from the University of London in 1968 for his book Programming Languages, Information Structures, and Machine Organization, with Maurice Wilkes listed as his supervisor.[10][3]


The seminal work for his previous occupation is On Understanding Types[11] which was co-authored with Luca Cardelli. For his latter undertaking, he co-authored several papers and co-edited a book Interactive Computation: the New Paradigm which was published in 2006.


Wegner was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) in 1995 and received the ACM Distinguished Service Award in 2000.[12] In 1999, he was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, 1st class ("Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft u. Kunst I. Klasse"),[13][14] but was hit by a bus and sustained serious brain injuries when on a trip to London to receive his award.[15] He recovered after a lengthy coma.

He was the editor-in-chief of ACM Computing Surveys[16] and of The Brown Faculty Bulletin. He was a professor at Brown University.


  1. 1 2 3 4 Peter Wegner: A Life Remarkable
  2. In Memoriam: Peter Wegner, 1932-2017, retrieved 28 July 2017
  3. 1 2 3 4 Peter Wegner at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. Warren, Jr., Henry S. (2013) [2002]. Hacker's Delight (2 ed.). Addison-WesleyPearson Education. p. 477. ISBN 978-0-321-84268-8. 0-321-84268-5.
  5. Wegner, Peter. MathSciNet
  6. Peter Wegner at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  7. List of publications from Microsoft Academic
  8. Peter Wegner author profile page at the ACM Digital Library Edit this at Wikidata
  9. Wegner, P. (1997). "Why interaction is more powerful than algorithms". Communications of the ACM. 40 (5): 80. doi:10.1145/253769.253801.
  10. Wegner, Peter (1968). Programming Languages, Information Structures, and Machine Organization (PhD thesis). University of London. Archived from the original on 2013-07-03.
  11. Cardelli, Luca; Wegner, Peter (December 1985). "On understanding types, data abstraction, and polymorphism" (PDF). ACM Computing Surveys. New York, NY, USA: ACM. 17 (4): 471–523. doi:10.1145/6041.6042. ISSN 0360-0300.
  12. "Peter Wegner". Association for Computing Machinery. 1995. Retrieved 2017-07-29. "For many years of generous service to ACM and the computing community, including outstanding and inspiring leadership in publications and in charting research directions for computer science."
  13. "Peter Wegner – A prominent pioneer in computer science!". Faculty of Informatics, TU Vienna. 2006. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  14. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 1306. Retrieved 24 November 2012.
  15. Kristen Cole (1999). "Peter Wegner on the mend". George Street Journal, Brown University. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
  16. "Peter Wegner". ACM Distinguished Service Award. 2000. Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2009-10-03.
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