Chuck Thacker may not be quite the same household name as some other computing pioneers, but it's pretty hard to overstate the influence he's had on the industry, a feat for which he's now be honored with the A.M. Turing Award -- widely considered to be the "Nobel prize of computing." While Thacker is now a "Technical Fellow" at Microsoft, he first made a name for himself at Xerox PARC, where he not only helped design and realize the very first modern computer, the Alto, but co-invented Ethernet, and contributed to a range of other projects that have had a lasting impact on computing to this day. Later, while at Microsoft Reseach, Thacker oversaw the design of the very first Tablet PC prototypes, and he continues to lead up
a computer-architecture group at the company and be involved with various research efforts. Of course, that's only scratching the surface -- hit up the links below for a more complete background of the man's work, and head on past the break for a short video put together for the occasion by Microsoft.