Niklaus Emil Wirth (born 15 February 1934) is a Swiss computer scientist, best known for designing several programming languages, including Pascal, and for pioneering several classic topics in software engineering. In 1984 he won the Turing Award, generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science, for developing a sequence of innovative computer languages.
Wirth was born in Winterthur, Switzerland, in 1934. In 1959 he earned a degree in Electronics Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH Zürich). In 1960 he earned an M.Sc. from Université Laval, Canada. Then in 1963 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) from the University of California, Berkeley, supervised by the computer designer pioneer Harry Huskey.
Wirth was the chief designer of the programming languages Euler, Algol W, Pascal, Modula, Modula-2, Oberon, Oberon-2, and Oberon-07. He was also a major part of the design and implementation team for the Lilith and Oberon operating systems, and for the Lola digital hardware design and simulation system. He received the ACM Turing Award for the development of these languages in 1984 and in 1994 he was inducted as a Fellow of the ACM.
Wirth retired in 1999.