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2016 Iverson Award Recognises Dyalog's CEO and CXO

The Kenneth E. Iverson Award for Outstanding Contribution to APL is bestowed at the discretion of the Special Interest Group on APL of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM SIGAPL) to people who have had a profound and positive impact on the development of APL and its community. Since 1983, the Iverson Award has been presented 19 times and the list of recipients reads like a "Who's Who" among the APL community. The last recipients, the IBM APL2 Products and Services Team, were honoured in 2007.

During the 50 Years of APL celebration banquet at Dyalog '16, Gitte Christensen and Morten Kromberg were honoured as the latest recipients of the Iverson Award. Four previous Iverson Award recipients were present to welcome Gitte and Morten to their ranks – Ray Polivka (1990), John Scholes (1995), Roger Hui (1996) and Roy Sykes (1998).

The effort to honour Gitte and Morten with the Iverson Award began in February 2016. The first challenge was to ensure that ACM would still sponsor the award, as SIGAPL has been merged into the larger SIGPLAN (Special Interest Group for Programming Languages). A petition for the consideration of Gitte and Morten to receive the award was circulated among prominent members of the APL community and was universally endorsed. A few excerpts from the petition:

One only has to read Dyalog APL's release notes for the versions of Dyalog APL that have been released during their oversight to gain an appreciation of the substantial leaps forward in APL technology that have been made under Morten and Gitte's leadership.

A couple of pages hardly seems adequate to give proper exposure to the breadth and depth of Morten and Gitte's contributions to the APL community. In short, APL continues to be relevant in no small part due to their efforts. Since taking over Dyalog, Morten and Gitte have directed Dyalog to consistent growth and have built a fiscally stable, profitable, and growing business. Within Dyalog there is a strong belief that APL is perhaps more relevant today and going into the future than at any point in its history. Those who have had the opportunity to talk or work with Morten and Gitte and to witness their enthusiasm and energy for APL are likely to come to share a similar outlook.

We can think of no more appropriate way to recognize Morten and Gitte's contributions in this, the year of APL's 50th anniversary, than to honour them with the Kenneth E. Iverson Award.

Shortly after attendees were seated at the Dyalog '16 banquet, Brian Becker of Dyalog began the award presentation by toasting Ken Iverson and what his vision made possible for the APL community. Brian then asked the attendees to recognise and toast the previous Iverson Award recipients who were present in the room. Then Paul Grosvenor, managing director of Optima Systems and chairman of the British APL Association, took the microphone and invited the previous recipients to the front of the room for the award presentation. Being slightly mischievous, Paul provided clues about the recipient's identity without divulging there were two recipients this year. As many of the clues were equally applicable to Gitte and Morten, the suspense was carried forward for as long as possible. The clues about the winner included:

  • A lifetime's participation and contribution to the APL community
  • Worked at I.P. Sharp Associates
  • A technical vision complemented by business acumen
  • A contribution critical to APL's success
  • Has made APL more available and more usable in the mainstream
  • Generated more than a decade of steady business growth
  • Made APL available on new platforms
  • Made APL available to the masses
  • Less interested in software piracy but rather availability of the software
  • An APL evangelist
  • A passion for APL
  • APL continues to be relevant as a result [of their efforts] and is perhaps more relevant today and going into the future than at any point in its history

Iverson Award Winners (from left to right): John Scholes, Morten Kromberg, Ray Polivka, Roy Sykes, Roger Hui and Gitte Christensen with Paul Grosvenor

Congratulations Gitte and Morten – we at Dyalog are so pleased you have received this well-deserved recognition.

Watch the video of the award ceremony


Almost a quarter of Team Dyalog are now recipients of the Iverson Award – more than a quarter if the BAA Outstanding Achievement Award is also considered:

  • June 1995: John Scholes and Pete Donnelly
    Kenneth E. Iverson Award for Outstanding Contribution to APL
    for their work on the Dyalog APL product line
  • July 1996: Roger Hui
    Kenneth E. Iverson Award for Outstanding Contribution to APL
    for his notable work on the J programming language
  • July 2001: John Daintree
    British APL Association's Outstanding Achievement Award
    for his ground-breaking work on Dyalog.NET
  • October 2016: Gitte Christensen and Morten Kromberg
    Kenneth E. Iverson Award for Outstanding Contribution to APL
    for their outstanding contribution to the development and application of APL


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