Prise winners list

Development of open-source programming language 'Ruby' that is used worldwide

Matsue-City, Shimane Prefecture
Network Applied Communication Laboratory Ltd.
Other award winners
Recommended by
the Hirogin Research Institute

Matsumoto, Yukihiro  (44)
Fellow (real name: Matsumoto Yukihiro, 44 years old)

Programming is a pleasure. Ruby not only improves the productivity but tells us this fact

"Ruby" is a programming language Mr. Matsumoto has developed personally. It is a script language having superior productivity because he thoroughly pursued the object orientation that was still a new concept when he developed it. Ruby was made public as open software in 1995. Since then, many users and researchers have used, verified and modified it and produced some superior derived versions of it. It is now a major language used worldwide. Later he joined Network Applied Communication Laboratory Ltd. and the local government body saw the great potential in Ruby. The academic, business and governmental circles support "the ongoing regional promotion project with Ruby in core". This is a rare case in the world.


As an engineer, I wish to work more effortlessly. Such a real wish and enthusiasm produced a simple and highly productive language

It is not clear if a programming language is a "manufactured product", however, computer software won a Monodzukuri Nippon Grand Award for the first time. 
"I was a junior high-school student when I used a PC for the first time. A machine operated according to my own programming. I found my interest in it."
After graduating from a university, Mr. Matsumoto had a job for system development. While working, he started to develop a programming language personally. 
"I used a language "Perl" at that time. It was a good language but could not process data effectively when I created large complicated software. In one word, it was not sophisticated. Therefore I wished to create a more convenient language while keeping the basic idea of Perl. 
He completed the first version of "Ruby" in 1993 and made it public via the internet, which was still a new medium, in 1995. In this open source development method, the source code, which was a blueprint for software, was made publicly available free of charge and anybody could use, verify, modify and distribute the programming language.
Ruby began to be also used widely overseas. "Ruby on Rails (RoR), which was developed and made public in Denmark in 2004, prompted this move. A shocking video showed publicly that "RoR" could produce a blog system within only fifteen minutes, and it became a world boom to use RoR for development of web application such as construction of internet mall. 
"The quality and productivity of software depends on the time consumed for production of it, cost and labor of engineers. However, RoR provided astonishing productivity while keeping good quality. It was really a groundbreaking tool."
If a tool is ineffective, development of software becomes a labor-intensive work and engineers get tired. Ruby is a very easy-to-use language because its description is simple and it lets a machine do what the machine can do. Namely a development work becomes simple. Productivity becomes higher and persons can use their time to do a more creative work. This is especially true if a user is not a programmer. When a scientist produces software for his or her research, the convenience of language determines the progress of his or her research. Ruby is widely used in many scientific fields including genomic analysis and weather simulation and also used by NASA because it is convenient. 
"I was motivated to develop Ruby because I wanted to do my work more easily. However, I wonder myself why I am so busy now although I started Ruby because I wished to do my work more easily."

Unprecedented proposal, "Let's develop this region with a programming language!" Surprised, I asked, "Are you losing your mind?"

On a day in 2006, a staff in the Matsue City Government visited me and said, "I wish to promote this region with Ruby." Mr. Matsumoto was surprised and asked, "Do you really mean it?" He had never heard that a programming language was used for regional development. However, he was impressed by the courage and determination of that staff and city governor who were usually hesitant to do a new thing. 
Thus an unprecedented industrial promotion program was started by Matsue City and Shimane Prefecture. First, they had to develop human resources. They used Ruby as a textbook at universities, technical colleges and senior high schools and started information education. The members of the inaugural class are already working as helpful new employees in companies in the prefecture. Mr. Matsumoto taught as a guest professor at Shimane University for one year in 2009. In addition, Ruby is used for development of all the systems in the prefectural government. Small IT companies will start their operation in the prefecture.
"Ruby is extraordinarily well known in Matsue City and Shimane Prefecture. When we hold a study session, almost all the participants are business managers. When they return to their companies, they say to their engineers, 'Let's use Ruby to develop a new system!' Such a thing never happens in other prefectures."
In Matsue, Ruby is almost "an real existence". Nonetheless, Mr. Matsumoto also has a different thought.
"My son is a senior high-school student and he uses a PC. However, actually he is only using the software other people have produced. When I was a child, a PC was a tool that could do nothing but programming. However, a PC was a magic box that could do everything. Therefore I wish that present-day people use Ruby to try the possibility of the magic box. 
Whether or not Ruby is "a manufactured product", Mr. Matsumoto is surely a person who creates a product. He deserves the award this time.

Network Applied Communication Laboratory Ltd.

Jul. 2001
24.5 million yen
51 (as of Dec. 2009)
Brief information:
Using open source software, the company develops system and provides solution. It promotes use of "Ruby".

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Books about Ruby authored by Mr. Matsumoto