Excerpt from the PC Pioneers
Charles Simonyi would produce an early WP, Bravo and then moved Microsoft into applications, but what of his origins?
Charles Simonyi, was born in Budapest, he had an early encounter with computing during his secondary education. While working as a night-watchman at a computer laboratory his role was to ‘baby-sit’ a Russian Ural II mainframe that had the habit of burning out valves.
He seized the opportunity to be trained by one of the programmers and of course had ample time to try out his techniques each night.
Subsequently developing various compilers in Hungary, he approached a visiting Danish trade mission and was hired by A/S Regnecentralen, the first computer company in Denmark; they manufactured Data General Nova computers under licence. Simonyi was just sixteen!
After working there for eighteen months Simonyi moved to the University of California Berkeley where he graduated and then transferred to Stanford.
He then worked at BCC alongside Lampson and Thacker during this period. From there he did not move directly to PARC, instead joining NASA’s Ames Research Center to work on the ill-fated supercomputer the Illiac IV…