William Morton Kahan

William Morton Kahan

Canadian scientist in the field of computational mathematics
Date of Birth: 05.06.1933
Country: Canada

  1. Biography of William Morton Kahan
  2. Education
  3. Contributions
  4. Turing Award
  5. Honorary Membership

Biography of William Morton Kahan

William Morton Kahan is a Canadian scientist in the field of computational mathematics and theory of computational systems. He is also the recipient of the Turing Award. Currently, Kahan is a professor of mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is working on the new IEEE 754r standard.


Kahan studied at the University of Toronto, where he earned his Bachelor's degree in 1954, Master's degree in 1956, and Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1958.


One of Kahan's notable achievements is the development of the IEEE 754 standard, which describes the representation and operations of floating-point numbers. He is also credited with the authorship of the generalization of this standard, IEEE 854, which describes the representation of numbers in exponential notation regardless of the base. Kahan also developed an algorithm for minimizing errors in the addition of numbers in the IEEE 754 representation, which was named after him.

Turing Award

In 1989, William Morton Kahan was awarded the Turing Award for his fundamental contributions to numerical analysis. He was recognized as one of the early experts in floating-point computations and dedicated himself to the task of "making the world safe for numerical computations."

Honorary Membership

In 1994, Kahan was granted honorary membership in the Association for Computing Machinery.