Almost any situation may be considered from more than one perspective, as in the scene from a soccer match above: The strategy connoisseur, the hooligan, the psychologist studying mass psychosis, all have a different perspective on the same sequence happening before their eyes.

In informatics as in politics, it is necessary to be keenly aware of the perspectives relevant to the actors in a situation. Information technology is used in social situations and it is unscientific, in my opinion,to shut one's mind to the presence of conflicting interests and perspectives on the situation at hand.

This also applies to the writing your own CV. I am well aware of the fact that I have been a controversial person, participating in a long series of activities that have been crusades to me, but probably unwelcome and harmful intervention to others. Written from their perspective, my CV could well be a very different one.
(Drawing by Svein Aarset.)


Curriculum Vitae for Kristen Nygaard

(15 February 2002, Long Version )

Kristen Nygaard was born in 1926 in Oslo, Norway. He got his Master's degree in Mathematics at the University of Oslo in 1956. His thesis on abstract probability theory was entitled "Theoretical Aspects of Monte Carlo Methods".

Kristen Nygaard worked full time at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment from 1948 to 1960 - in computing and programming (1948-1954) and operational research (1952-1960).

From 1957 to 1960 he was head of the first operational research groups in the Norwegian defense. He was Cofounder and first chairman of the Norwegian Operational Research Society (1959-1964). In 1960 he was employed by the Norwegian Computing Center, responsible for building up the NCC as a research institute in the 1960s, becoming its Director of Research in 1962, .

Together with Ole-Johan Dahl he developed SIMULA I (1961-65) and SIMULA 67 - the first object oriented programming languages, introducing the concepts upon which all later object-oriented programming languages are built: Objects, classes, inheritance, virtual quantities and multi-threaded (quasi-parallel) program execution. He did research for Norwegian trade unions on planning, control, and data processing, all evaluated in light of the objectives of organised labour (1971-1973, together with Olav Terje Bergo). Other research and development work included: the social impact of computer technology, and the general system description language DELTA (1973-1975, together with Erik Holbaek-Hanssen and Petter Haandlykken).

Kristen Nygaard was professor in Aarhus, Denmark (1975-1976) and then became professor in Oslo (part-time from 1977, full time 1984-1996). His work in Aarhus and Oslo has included research and education in system development and the social impact of computer technology, and became the foundation of what today is called "the Scandinavian School in System Development", closely linked to the field of Participatory Design.. In 1987 he was Visiting Professor at Stanford University, Palo Alto,USA, Visiting Scientist at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto and a consultant and lecturer at Apple's Advanced Technology Group.

In June 1990 he was promoted to Doctor Honoris Causa at Lund University, Sweden, and in June 1991 he became the first Doctor Honoris Causa to be promoted at Aalborg University, Denmark. He is a member of The Norwegian Academy of Science.

In October 1990 the American association Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility awarded him its Norbert Wiener Prize for responsibility in social and professional work. In 1992 he was awarded Computerworld's honorary prize for "having made Norway known internationally in the information technology field"." In 1999 he became - together with Ole-Johan Dahl - the first to receive the Rosing Prize. The Rosing Prize is the new prize awarded by the Norwegian Data Association for exceptional professional achievements. In June 2000 he was awarded a Honorary Fellowship for "his originating of object technology concepts" by the Object Management Group, the international standardisation organisation within object-orientation.

In November 2001 he was, together with Ole-Johan Dahl, awarded the John von Neumann Medal by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) vith the citation: "For the introduction of the concepts underlying object-oriented programming through the design and implementation of SIMULA 67".

In February 2002 he was given, once more together with Ole-Johan Dahl, the A. M. Turing Award by the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) for 2001, with the citation: "For ideas fundamental to the emergence of object oriented programming, through their design of the programming languages Simula I and Simula 67."

In August 2000 he was made Commander of the Order of Saint Olav by the King of Norway.

From 1976 he has been engaged in the development and (since 1986) the implementation of the general object oriented programming language BETA (together with Bent Bruun Kristensen, Ole Lehrmann Madsen and Birger Moeller-Pedersen). The language is now available on a wide range of computers.

Kristen Nygaard was in the first half of the 1980s chairman of the Steering Committee of the Scandinavian research program SYDPOL (System Development and Profession Oriented Languages) coordinating research and supporting Working Groups in System Development, Language Research and Artificial Intelligence.

Also in the 1980s, he was chairman of the Steering Committee for the Cost-13 (European Common Market Commission) financed European research project on the study of the extensions of profession oriented languages necessary when Artificial Intelligence and information technology are becoming part of professional work.

Kristen Nygaard's research 1995-1999 was related to distributed systems. He was the leader of GOODS (General Object-Oriented Distributed Systems), a three-year Norwegian Research Council-supported project starting in 1997, aiming at enriching object-oriented languages and system development methods by new basic concepts that make it possible to describe the relation between layered and/or distributed programs and the hardware and people carrying out these programs. The GOODS team also included Haakon Bryhni, Dag Sjøberg and Ole Smørdal. He was also heading a team at the Norwegian Computing Center, aiming at establishing a commercial implementation of the GOODS idea:. The STAGE Project (STAGing Environments).The STAGE team also included Dag Belsnes, Jonn Skretting, Kasper Østerbye and Birger Moeller-Pedersen.

Kristen Nygaards current interests are studies of the didactical aspects of introductory teaching of programming, and the creation of a process-oriented conceptual platform for informatics. These subjects will be developed in a new research project called COOL (Comprehensive Object-Oriented Learning) together with a number of international test sites. He is giving lectures and courses on these subjects in Norway and elsewhere. In November 1999 he became Chair of an Advisory Committee on Broadband Communication for the Norwegian Department for Municipal and Regional Affairs.

Other Activities.

Kristen Nygaard was in 1984-1985 chairman of the Informatics Committee of the University of Oslo, and active in the design of the University's plan for developing research, education and computing and communication facilities at all faculties of the university.

Kristen Nygaard was the first chairman of the Environment Protection Committee of the Norwegian Association for the Protection of Nature. He was for 10 years (in the 1970s) Norwegian representative in the OECD activities on information technology. He has been a member of the Research Committee of the Norwegian Federation of Trade Unions, and cooperated with unions in a number of countries.

He was for several years engaged in running an experimental social institution trying new ways of creating human living conditions for socially outcast alcoholics.

Kristen Nygaard has been active in Norwegian politics. In the mid-and late 1960s he was a member of the National Executive Committee of the Norwegian party "Venstre", a left-wing non-socialist party, and chair of that party's Strategy Committee. During the intense political fight before the 1972 Referendum on whether Norway should become member of the European Common Market, he worked as coordinator for the large majority of youth organisations that worked against membership and won. 1971-2001 Kristen Nygaard was a member of the Labour Party, and he has been a member of committees on research policies in that party.

Kristen Nygaard became in November 1988 the Chair of the Information Committee on Norway and the EEC, in August 1990 reorganised as "Nei til EU" (No to European Union Membership for Norway), the organisation disseminating information from a critical point of view about Norway's relation to the Common Market, and coordinating the efforts to keep Norway outside. "Nei til EU" became the largest political organisation in Norway (145.000 members in 1994, in a population of 4 millions). In the referendum on 28. November 1994 "Nei til EU" succeeded: 52.2% of the electorate voted "No", and the voter participation was the highest ever in Norway's history - 88.8%. He resigned as chair in 1995, and has since been the chair of the organisation's strategy committee and is now member of its Council.

In 1996-97 Kristen Nygaard was the Coordinator of the efforts to establish TEAM (The European Anti-Maastricht Movement), a cooperation network between national organisations opposing the EMU (Economic Monetary Union) and the Maastricht Treaty in European countries within and outside the EU. TEAM was successfully started 3 March 1997.


Kristen Nygaard is married to Johanna Nygaard since 1951. Johanna Nygaard, now retired, was working at NORAD (The Norwegian Agency for Aid to Developing Countries). She specialised for a number of years in recruiting and giving administrative support to specialists working in East Africa. They have three children and seven grandchildren.


In any given situation, a person's cognitive process is structured by a perspective that:

- is common to a domain of situations considered similar to the given one,

- selects those properties of the situation that are being considered (and, by implication, those that are ignored), and

- provides concepts and other cognitions that are being used in the interpretation of the selected properties.