Crowther graduated from MIT
with a degree in physics, though he later turned to computer science. Spent time working in Lincoln Labs
before going to BBN
to work on the IMP
prototype, which was basically the precursor to the router
. He wrote the IMP kernel
in a mere 150 lines of code – 10% of what everyone else expected it would take. Crowther was by all accounts an excellent programmer, known well for his lean and efficient code. Besides helping to father the internet, his contributions to computing also include “Adventure
”, a computer game based on Dungeons and Dragons
which he wrote for his children over a few weekends in 1976, after divorcing his wife. The game went on to spawn an industry, and caused many people to gain interest in computing – it’s said that the number of people who became programmers after playing “Adventure” is too high to count.
Like many great programmers, Crowther was also known for his quirks. He wore sneakers all the time – even to important meetings. When he needed to think, he hung from his doorframe by his fingertips doing chin-ups. He was also a notoriously picky eater. His interests included rock climbing and exploring caves.
No information is available on his current status.