The U.S. National Academy of Engineering has announced that Churchill Fellow, Bjarne Stroustrup, is to receive the 2018 Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering “for conceptualising and developing the C++ programming language.” The $500,000 annual award is given to engineers whose accomplishments have significantly benefited society.

C++ is one of computing’s most influential programming languages and has revolutionised numerous applications. Though invisible to the general public, billions of people indirectly use C++ every day.  Pervasive in computerised systems everywhere, the Google search engine is written in C++ as is most of Google’s supporting infrastructure. The communications parts of smartphones are in C++ as well as much of the telecommunication systems that connect them. C++ is key to many of tools of the movie industry and the higher levels of the Mars Rover software. C++ libraries underlie the current efforts in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and autonomous vehicles. C++ is now used by approximately 4.5 million programmers around the world.

“Bjarne Stroustrup’s creation of the C++ programming language has had a monumental, singular influence on the field of computing,” said NAE President C. D. Mote, Jr. “I am honoured to bestow upon Bjarne Stroustrup this year’s Charles Stark Draper Prize for Engineering for C++. His creation reminds our society of the extraordinary impact that an outstanding engineer can  have on our world.”

The Draper Prize was established in 1988 at the request of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts, to honour the memory of “Doc” Draper, the “father of inertial navigation,” and to increase public understanding of the contributions of engineering and technology. The prize is awarded annually.

Bjarne will be presented with The Draper Prize at a gala dinner event in Washington, D.C., on 20 February 2018.

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