Jerry Saltzer

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Jerome "Jerry" Saltzer is an American computer scientist, who was a professor of computer science at MIT.

His personal contributions include the subject of his Sc. D. thesis, Traffic Control in a Multiplexed Computer System, which is now the universally used as the mechanism for process switching in operating systems. Its basic concept, that each process has its own kernel-mode stack, and that the system can pause a process, and switch to a different process (and stack), is important because having a per-process stack allows remarkable simplification in the structuring of kernel code. It allows a process to pause execution, while deep in a call stack, and later resume execution at the exact same point it paused - without needing any additional code to return to the exact same point.

He also did work on CTSS (including the creation of the editor TYPSET and the text-formatter RUNOFF), and on Multics.

He is at least equally important for his many students. For many years his undergraduate course, "Engineering of Computer Systems", was a key part of the education of computer science students at MIT. His graduate students include Michael Schroeder, Roger Schell, Paul Karger, Bernie Greenberg, David Clark, and David Reed.

He was the head of MIT's Project Athena from 1984 to 1989; during that time he helped with Kerberos.

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