The Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing is awarded for an outstanding paper on the principles of distributed computing, whose significance and impact on the theory and/or practice of distributed computing has been evident for at least a decade.
The 2005 Edsger W. Dijkstra Prize in Distributed Computing has been awarded to Marshall Pease, Robert Shostak, and Leslie Lamport, for their paper “Reaching agreement in the presence of faults,” which appeared in the Journal of the Association of Computing Machinery in 1980. This short and beautiful paper provided the first fault-tolerant algorithms for the problem that, following later work by the same authors, became known as Byzantine agreement, and proved the well-known tight bound of n/3 on the number of faults that could be tolerated in Byzantine agreement problems. The Byzantine agreement problem quickly became one of the most widely studied problems in distributing computing, with applications throughout the field of computer science.
Sadly, Marshall Pease died in 2001 after a long and varied career. The field of distributed computing is diminished by his loss.