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Dr. Dobb's Excellence in Programming Award

The Dr. Dobb's Journal Excellence in Programming Award is annually bestowed on individuals who, in the spirit of innovation and cooperation, have made significant contributions to the advancement of software development.

This year's recipient is someone whose work is familiar to every serious programmer. Grady Booch is recognized internationally for his contributions to improving the software development process, and for significant achievements in object-oriented programming, software architecture, and modeling. He has acted as an architect or architectural mentor for a number of complex software projects for the U.S. government and around the world. In the words of one industry CTO, "few individuals have done more for the software development community than Grady Booch."

Booch is also a prolific and influential author with six best-sellers to his credit. His best-known books include UML Users Guide and the seminal Object-Oriented Analysis with Applications. He has written hundreds of articles on software engineering. One of his first published articles, in 1984, kicked off the practice of object-oriented design and even coined the term "object-oriented design."

Growing up in Amarillo, Texas, Booch showed an early interest in—and talent for—computer technology. He built a computer in high school and learned programming as a science-fair project. When it came time for college, he chose the U.S. Air Force Academy because he thought he'd get a chance to work on exciting software projects in the military. That hunch proved to be correct, and his involvement in the 1980s SDI "Star Wars" era introduced him to massive software projects and the Ada language, and gave him a deep appreciation for the need to think clearly about the methodologies of software development.

Another Air Force connection also proved fateful. Paul Levy and Mike Devlin, two fellow officers who shared an interest in computers, started a company called Rational Machines (later renamed Rational Software) on leaving the military. Booch, who had helped them plan the company, joined them as soon as he got out.

At Rational, Booch soon shifted the focus of the company based on his growing interest in software engineering, sparked in part by his immersion in Ada. He nudged Rational toward bringing modern software engineering practices to software development, especially explicit modular architecture and iterative development. Out of this focus, in 1984, came the company's first commercial product, Rational Rose, which Booch designed.

Rational Rose exemplified Booch's interest in software modeling. The Booch Method, which he developed at Rational, was a modeling approach widely adopted in early object-oriented analysis and design. Later, he joined forces with modeling innovators Ivar Jacobson and James Rumbaugh (the three have been called the "Three Amigos" of modeling) to develop the Unified Modeling Language (UML), a nonproprietary language for visualizing, specifying, contracting, and documenting object-oriented systems. Powerful and influential, UML has energized the evolution of Model-Driven Development and other model-driven technologies.

In an industry in which software developers change jobs frequently, Booch has been continuously associated with Rational as Chief Scientist since its founding in 1981. When Rational was acquired by IBM in 2003, he continued in that role but also became a "Dedicated Free Radical" for IBM, with the assignment to "worry about the next three to five years." Today, Booch is one of the most sought-after software design consultants.

When he is not traveling, which is one of his hobbies, E. Grady Booch (the "E" stands for Ernest) and his wife Jan live in Colorado, where he spends much of his leisure time in pursuit of his other passions, reading and music. He sings and plays the Celtic harp, guitar, bowed psaltery, hammered dulcimer, and keyboard.

Booch is a member of the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR). He was a founding member of the Agile Alliance, the Hillside Group, and the Worldwide Institute of Software Architects. He is an ACM Fellow and and an IBM Fellow. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Embodying a spirit of innovation and cooperation, Grady Booch has advanced the field of software development and serves as a model of Excellence in Programming.

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