Concept

Peter J. Denning

Summary
Peter James Denning (born January 6, 1942) is an American computer scientist and writer. He is best known for pioneering work in virtual memory, especially for inventing the working-set model for program behavior, which addressed thrashing in operating systems and became the reference standard for all memory management policies. He is also known for his works on principles of operating systems, operational analysis of queueing network systems, design and implementation of CSNET, the ACM digital library, and codifying the great principles of computing. He has written numerous influential articles and books, including an overview of fundamental computer science principles, computational thinking, and his thoughts on innovation as a set of learnable practices. Denning was born January 6, 1942, in Queens, New York, and raised in Darien, Connecticut. He took an early interest in science, pursuing astronomy, botany, radio, and electronics while in grade school. At Fairfield Prep, he submitted home-designed computers to the science fair in 1958, 1959, and 1960. His second computer, which solved linear equations using pinball machine parts, won the grand prize. He attended Manhattan College for a Bachelor in EE (1964) and then MIT for a PhD (1968). At MIT he worked on Project MAC and contributed to the design of the pioneering Multics operating system. His PhD thesis, "Resource allocation in multiprocess computer systems", introduced seminal ideas in working sets, locality, thrashing, and system balance. At Princeton University from 1968 to 1972, Denning wrote his classic book, Operating Systems Theory (1973), with E G Coffman. He collaborated with Alfred Aho and Jeffrey Ullman on optimality proofs for paging algorithms, and on a simple proof that compilers based on precedence parsing do not need to backtrack. At Purdue University (1972–1983) he supervised numerous PhD theses validating locality-based theories of memory management and extending the new mathematics of operational analysis of queueing networks. He co-founded CSNET.
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