Simula Discussion led by Richard E. Nance with Birger Møller-Pederson, Bjarne Stroustrup, and Ole Lehrmann Madsen

This interview took place at the D. H. Hill Library on the campus of North Carolina State University.


Interview place: Raleigh, North Carolina

Interview date: 2016-07-12

Birger Møller-Pedersen, Ph.D.

Birger Møller-Pedersen is a professor in the Department of Informatics, University of Oslo. His academic studies began at the University of Copenhagen, followed by graduate work at Aarhus University, Denmark. In 1977 he joined Kristen Nygaard at the Norwegian Computing Center (NR) to develop the BETA language, based both on DELTA (a system description language based upon the experiences with SIMULA) and SIMULA. He held the position of Senior Research Scientist at Telenor (1995-97) and Principal Scientist with Ericsson (1997-2004), prior to joining the University of Oslo. Møller-Pedersen has served on several program committees for the Object-Oriented Programming Systems Languages & Applications (OOPSLA) conference and the European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming (ECOOP).

Birger Møller-Pedersen is recognized internationally for his accomplishments in, and contributions to, object-oriented languages. He has authored numerous papers and monographs on the subject since his early experience at NR as a member of the team producing the second generation SIMULA implementation. With Kristen Nygaard and Ole Lehrmann Madsen, he authored Object-Oriented Programming in the BETA Programming Language, Addison Wesley 1993. The details of the BETA language project are given in B.B. Kristensen, O.L. Madsen, B. Møller-Pedersen, The when, why and why not of the BETA programming language, Third ACM SIGPLAN conference on History of Programming Languages (HOPL III), 2007. Using SIMULA and BETA concepts and ideas, he was a key contributor to the object-oriented extensions of the ITU Specification and Description Language (SDL). He is a co-author of Systems Engineering Using SDL-92, North-Holland 1994. While with Ericsson he was contributing to UML 2 within OMG.

Ole Lehrmann Madsen, Ph.D.

Ole Lehrmann Madsen is a professor of Computer Science, Aarhus University, and CEO of the Alexandria Institute Ltd, whose mission is to help companies developing new, innovative products and services using information and computing technology. He holds a Master’s and a Ph.D. degree in computer science from Aarhus University. Prior to joining Aarhus, he was a research associate at the Center for Study of Language in Information (CSLI), Stanford University (1984-85) and senior research associate at Sun Microsystems Laboratories in Mountain View, California (1994-95).

Madsen is internationally known for his research publications in object-oriented software systems, including programming and modeling languages and software development environments. He was a major developer of BETA (together with Bent Bruun Kristensen, Birger Møller-Pedersen and Kristen Nygaard) and the Mjølner BETA software development environment. He is a co-founder and chairman of the board for Mjølner Informatics Ltd, which is based on BETA and the Mjølner project. He worked closely with Kristen Nygaard, who was a visiting professor at Aarhus University in 1972-75 and until his death in 2002. He is co-author of Object-Oriented Programming in the BETA Programming Language, Addison Wesley 1993. He has contributed to the creation and adoption of research and innovation policies as a member of various councils, including the Danish Council for Strategic Research and the IT Council of the Central Denmark Region. He is currently Vice-chair of the Directory General CONNECT Advisory Forum: an advisory board for the EU Commission in relation to ICT research and innovation within Horizon 2020, and Chair of The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences’ Council of Digital Wise Men.

Bjarne Stroustrup, Ph.D.

Bjarne Stroustrup is the designer and original implementer of the programming language C++. The popularity and extensive use of C++ stems from its provision of abstraction techniques in an efficient, manageable form for general applications. Stroustrup acknowledges SIMULA as the conceptual roots of C++, noting that he learned object-oriented programming and design from Kristen Nygaard while earning a Master’s in Mathematics from Aarhus University (1975). Moreover, he used SIMULA in the research leading to his Ph.D. from Cambridge University (1979), where he is a member of Churchill College.

Stroustrup is the author of The C++ Programming Language (Fourth Ed.), Addison-Wesley 2013, which is the most widely read book on the subject. He is the author of several books on C++ and programming, targeted at different segments of the programming community. A Managing Director in the technology division of Morgan Stanley in New York City, he is also a visiting professor at Columbia University. Stroustrup headed the Large-scale Programming Research Department of AT&T Bell Laboratories from its creation until 2002. His performance as a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department of Texas A&M University led to his elevation to University Distinguished Research Professor in 2014. Among his numerous awards and distinctions are the ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award and the AITO Dahl-Nygaard Senior Prize. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and an IEEE, ACM, and CHM Fellow. His research interests include distributed systems, design, programming techniques, software development tools, and programming languages. He is actively involved in the ISO standardization of C++.