He attended the University of Toronto, where he received his Bachelor's degree in 1954, his Master's degree in 1956, and his Ph.D in 1959, all in the field of mathematics.

Among his many contributions, Kahan was the primary architect behind the ANSI/IEEE standard for floating-point computation and contributed an important algorithm for minimizing error introduced when adding a sequence of finite precision floating point numbers (see the Kahan Summation Algorithm).

He received the Turing Award in 1989 for his fundamental contributions to numerical analysis. One of the foremost experts on floating-point computations, Kahan has dedicated himself to "making the world safe for numerical computations."

He is now a professor of mathematics, computer science, and electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

- http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~wkahan/ - Kahan's home page.