Inventor Of Computer Password Fernando Corbato Dies At 93 - TECH FOE

Inventor Of Computer Password Fernando Corbato Dies At 93



Dr. Fernando Corbató, one of the fathers of computer security on Friday died at the age of 93 at a nursing home in Newburyport, Massachusetts, US.

According to the NYTimes, his wife, Emily Corbató said the cause of his death was as a result of complications from diabetes.

Dr. Corbató who was a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the time of his death, was one of the founders of computer security. He was the person that introduced the basic security measurement and as well methods that let more people use a computer at the same time in the 1960s.

He joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1950 to study for a doctorate in Physics. However, during his time there, he realised that he was interested in the machines that physicist used in doing their calculations than what brought him to MIT


During the 1950s, using computers was highly frustrating. Though very fast, those the gigantic machines could only handle one processing job at a time.

Dr. Corbató saw this limitation and then developed a new technique to overcome it. He developed an operating system for computers called the Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS).

Also Read: Ericsson's High Tech Solution To Smartphone Theft Should Scare Prospective Thieves

The CTSS operating system divided up the processing power of  a computer into small bits so that it could serve more than one person at the same time. CTSS simultaneous usage model also reduced the wait time for computer responses from hours to second.

Now, the development of CTSS saw the introduction of passwords for users so as to hide files and programs they were working on the same machine.

"Putting a password on for each individual user as a lock seemed like a straightforward solution," Dr. Corbató told Wired in 2012.

The development of CTSS led to the creation of another time-sharing program called Multics, which then paved the way for future operating systems like Linux and other computing features.

 In 1990, Dr. Corbató received the AM Turing Award for his pioneering work on time-sharing systems. In case you don't know, the AM Turing Award is one of the highest honours given to computer scientists.

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