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Edsger Dijkstra

Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (May 30, 1930 - August 6, 2002) was a Dutch computer scientist.

Dijkstra studied theoretical physics[?] at the University of Leiden. He worked as a research fellow for Burroughs Corporation in the early 1970s. He held the Schlumberger Centennial Chair in Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, in the United States. He retired in 2000.

Among his contributions to computer science are the shortest path-algorithm, also known as Dijkstra's algorithm. He received the Turing Award in 1972. He was known for his low opinion of the GOTO statement in computer programming, culminating in the 1968 article Go To Statement Considered Harmful, which is regarded as a major step towards the widespread deprecation of the GOTO statement (which was effectively replaced by control structures like do...while, repeat..until).

On artificial intelligence, he demonstrated a subtle understanding with his claim that "the question of whether a computer can think is no more interesting than the question of whether a submarine can swim". A similar subtle awareness is expressed by his statement: "Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes."

He died on August 6, 2002 after a long struggle with cancer.

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