Hungarian Notation Heads to Space

Charles Simonyi, the former Microsoft software developer who's credited with creating a self-documenting programming style called Hungarian Notation, might make a trip to the International Space Station next year aboard a Russian spacecraft. The billionaire was one of the key developers of both Microsoft Word and Excel back in the mid-1980s.

"A preliminary contract with Simonyi has been concluded for spring 2007," said Alexei Krasnov, the head of manned space flight programs at the Russian Space Agency. Contracts for Russian space flights currently fetch about $20 million and include training and a week in orbit with two professional astronauts. Simonyi is worth about $1 billion, according to Forbes.

"As with any long-term plan, I had to make reservations," Simonyi said of the planned space voyage. "A lot of training and work remains to be done before such a flight. My immediate goal for the flight would be to study Russian and American engineering approaches and to learn from the experience. I consider my future flight to be a small part of an important trend to make space accessible to more people, not just to experts."

An experienced pilot, Simonyi retired from Microsoft in 2002 and is now president of a software firm he cofounded. In the mid-1970s Simonyi created the Hungarian Notation programming style. Hungarian Notation specifies that variables, procedures, and other code identifiers should be named in a descriptive fashion that adds a prefix to the identifier name. The system came to be known as Hungarian Notation because the prefixes give the variable names a non-English appearance and because Simonyi is a native of Hungary.

Microsoft Web site.

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