Leslie Lamport, Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, was awarded the 2013 Turing Award of the Association for Computing Machinery, for his contributions to distributed computing. The citation reads:
For fundamental contributions to the theory and practice of distributed and concurrent systems, notably the invention of concepts such as causality and logical clocks, safety and liveness, replicated state machines, and sequential consistency.
Lamport’s contributions are fundamental to today’s distributed infrastructure. Giants such as Google or Amazon, and indeed, anything related to cloud computing, rely heavily on his work.
In my personal case, I owe Lamport (and many folks who built on his contributions) a more direct debt of gratitude. He is the originator of LaTeX, a document preparation system. Thanks to him and many others, I was able to write my lawyer thesis without worrying too much on matters of format. So, from a grateful user: Congratulations Mr. Lamport!
P.S.: This is another theme. Let me know your thoughts on it.