Martin Richards (computer scientist)

Martin Richards (born 21 July 1940) is a British computer scientist known for his development of the BCPL programming language[3] which is both part of early research into portable software, and the ancestor of the B programming language invented by Ken Thompson in early versions of Unix and which Dennis Ritchie in turn used as the basis of his widely used C programming language.

Martin Richards
Born (1940-07-21) 21 July 1940[1]
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Known forBasic Combined Programming Language
AwardsIEEE Computer Pioneer Award (2003)
Scientific career
FieldsProgramming languages
InstitutionsUniversity of Cambridge Computer Laboratory
ThesisThe design and implementation of CPL-like programming languages (1967)
Doctoral advisorDavid Barron, David Park and Christopher Strachey
Doctoral studentsEben Upton[2]


Richards studied mathematics as an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge and took the Cambridge Diploma in Computer Science. His PhD was on programming language design and implementation.[4][5] He was a senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory until his retirement in 2007.


In addition to BCPL Richards' work[6] includes the development of the TRIPOS[7] portable operating system.

He was awarded the IEEE Computer Society's Computer Pioneer Award in 2003 for "pioneering system software portability through the programming language BCPL".[8]

Richards is a fellow of St Johns College at the University of Cambridge.


  1. Cf. British Library catalogue entry for BCPL, the language and its compiler, Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1979.
  2. Upton, Eben (2006). Compiling with data dependence graphs (DPhil thesis). University of Cambridge.
  3. Richards, M. (1971). "The portability of the BCPL compiler". Software: Practice and Experience. 1 (2): 135–146. doi:10.1002/spe.4380010204.
  4. Martin Richards at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. Richards, Martin (1967). The design and implementation of CPL-like programming languages (DPhil thesis). University of Cambridge.
  6. Martin Richards at DBLP Bibliography Server
  7. Richards, M.; Aylward, A. R.; Bond, P.; Evans, R. D.; Knight, B. J. (1979). "TRIPOS—a portable operating system for mini-computers". Software: Practice and Experience. 9 (7): 513. doi:10.1002/spe.4380090702.
  8. "Martin Richards". IEEE Computer Society. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
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