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Duong Quang Thien, Vietnam’s pioneer computer scientist, dies at 85

Duong Quang Thien, Vietnam’s pioneer computer scientist, dies at 85

Thursday, August 08, 2019, 17:01 GMT+7
Duong Quang Thien, Vietnam’s pioneer computer scientist, dies at 85
Duong Quang Thien and his books on programming and computer science. Photo: T.T.D. / Tuoi Tre

Duong Quang Thien, who introduced electronic engineering, computer science and programming into Vietnam 50 years ago, died on Wednesday at the age of 85 after months battling a disease.

Thien drew his last breath at 4:06 pm at his home in Ho Chi Minh City, his family told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

A funeral is held at his house at 84A/7 Tran Huu Trang Street in Phu Nhuan District. The late system engineer will be cremated on Sunday at a cemetery in District 9.

Thien, born in 1934, graduated from the University of Bordeaux in France in 1961 with a degree in electronic engineering.

He was the first Vietnamese to work as a system engineer for the France business of IBM, a leading information technology company headquartered in New York, the U.S.

Duong Quang Thien attends an event in 2008. Photo: H.T.Van / Tuoi Tre

Duong Quang Thien (R) attends an event in 2008. Photo: H.T.Van / Tuoi Tre

He returned to Vietnam in 1965 - during the American war in Vietnam - and began laying the foundation for computing, computer science, and programming in his war-torn country.

Thien was the author of dozens of books on programming and system engineering that shaped how generations of Vietnamese approached studying the science of computers.

His final major work, a collection of eight books on “Analysis and Design of Information Systems for Enterprise Administration," was finished in 2017.

Duong Quang Thien is seen in this file photo dated 1993. Photo: Nguyen Cong Thanh / Tuoi Tre

Duong Quang Thien is seen in this file photo dated 1993. Photo: Nguyen Cong Thanh / Tuoi Tre

Besides his professional works, Thien had for 30 years, from 1989 until his death, been a regular benefactor of a Tuoi Tre-run foundation that provides scholarships and financial assistance to the Vietnamese youth.

Thien spent his final days planning how the rest of his fortune could be used to carry on the mission of helping Vietnam's young generations afford a good education.

Duong Quang Thien (L) shakes hands with former Tuoi Tre Editor-in-Chief Le Hoang in 2008. Photo: H.T.Van / Tuoi Tre

Duong Quang Thien (L) shakes hands with former Tuoi Tre Editor-in-Chief Le Hoang in 2008. Photo: H.T.Van / Tuoi Tre

He held a life-long belief that computer knowledge should have practical applications and help solve current and future social issues.

“We are born not only to feed… but to solve problems faced by ourselves, our family, our society, and mankind at large,” Thien once said.

“That ability [to solve problems] can only be acquired through education."

Duong Quang Thien is pictured at his home in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Duong Quang Thien is pictured at his home in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

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