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List of pioneers in computer science

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This article presents a list of individuals who helped in the creation, development and imagining of what computers and electronics could do.


The pioneersEdit

Person Achievement Ach. Date
Al-Khwārizmī[1][2][3] The term "algorithm" is derived from the algorism, the technique of performing arithmetic with Hindu-Arabic numerals developed by al-Khwarizmi. 0830~
Howard Aiken Conceived and codesigned the Harvard Mark I. 1944
Frances E. Allen Developed bit vector notation and program control flow graphs. 1970
John Atanasoff Built the first electronic digital computer, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer, though it was neither programmable nor Turing-complete. 1939
Charles Babbage Originated the concept of a programmable general-purpose computer. Designed the Analytical Engine and built a prototype for a less powerful mechanical calculator. 1822
John Backus Led the team that created FORTRAN (Formula Translation), the first practical high-level programming language, and he formulated the Backus–Naur form that described the formal language syntax. 1954
Jean Bartik One of the first computer programmers, on ENIAC (1946), an early vacuum tube computer back when "programming" involved using cables, dials, and switches to physically rewire the machine. Worked with John Mauchly toward BINAC (1949), EDVAC (1949), UNIVAC (1951) to develop early "Stored program" computers. 1946
Tim Berners-Lee Invented worldwide web. With Robert Cailliau, sent first HTTP communication between client and server. 1989
Corrado Böhm Theorized of the concept of Structured programming. 1966
George Boole Formalized Boolean algebra, the basis for digital logic and computer science. 1847
Kathleen Booth Invented the first assembly language. 1947
Per Brinch Hansen Developed the RC 4000 multiprogramming system which introduced the concept of an operating system kernel and the separation of policy and mechanism, effectively the first microkernel architecture.[4] Co-developed the monitor with Tony Hoare, and created the first monitor implementation.[5] Implemented the first form of remote procedure call in the RC 4000,[4] and was first to propose remote procedure calls as a structuring concept for distributed computing.[6] 1969
Fred Brooks Manager of IBM System/360 and OS/360 projects; author of The Mythical Man-Month. 1959
Nikolay Brusentsov Built ternary computer Setun. 1958
Vannevar Bush Analogue computing pioneer. Originator of the Memex concept, which led to the development of Hypertext. 1930
David Caminer With John Pinkerton, developed the LEO computer the first business computer, for J. Lyons and Co 1951
Vint Cerf With Bob Kahn, designed the Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), the primary data communication protocols of the Internet and other computer networks. 1978
Noam Chomsky Made contributions to computer science with his work in linguistics. He developed Chomsky hierarchy, a discovery which has directly impacted programming language theory and other branches of computer science. 1956
Alonzo Church Founded contributions to theoretical computer science, specifically for the development of the lambda calculus and the discovery of the undecidability problem within it. 1936
Wesley A. Clark Designed LINC, the first functional computer scaled down and priced for the individual user. Put in service in 1963, many of its features are seen as prototypes of what were to be essential elements of personal computers. 1962
Edmund M. Clarke Developed model checking and formal verification of software and hardware together with E. Allen Emerson. 1981
Edgar F. Codd Proposed and formalized the relational model of data management, the theoretical basis of relational databases. 1970
Stephen Cook Formalized the notion of NP-completeness, inspiring a great deal of research in computational complexity theory. 1971
James Cooley With John W. Tukey, created the fast Fourier transform. 1965
Ole-Johan Dahl With Kristen Nygaard, invented the proto-object oriented language SIMULA. 1962
Edsger Dijkstra Made advances in algorithms, pioneered and coined the term structured programming, invented the semaphore, and famously suggested that the GOTO statement should be considered harmful. 1968
J. Presper Eckert With John Mauchly, designed and built the ENIAC, the first modern (all electronic, Turing-complete) computer, and the UNIVAC I, the first commercially available computer. 1943
E. Allen Emerson Developed model checking and formal verification of software and hardware together with Edmund M. Clarke. 1981
Douglas Engelbart Best known for inventing the computer mouse (in a joint effort with Bill English); as a pioneer of human-computer interaction whose Augment team developed hypertext, networked computers, and precursors to GUIs. 1963
Tommy Flowers Designed and built the Mark 1 and the ten improved Mark 2 Colossus computers, the world's first programmable, digital, electronic, computing devices. 1943
Gottlob Frege Developed first-order predicate calculus, which was a crucial precursor requirement to developing computation theory. 1879
Seymour Ginsburg Proved "don't-care" circuit minimization does not necessarily yield optimal results, proved that the ALGOL programming language is context-free (thus linking formal language theory to the problem of compiler writing), and invented AFL Theory. 1958
Kurt Gödel Proved that Peano axiomatized arithmetic could not be both logically consistent and complete in first-order predicate calculus. Church, Kleene, and Turing developed the foundations of computation theory based on corollaries to Gödel's work. 1931
Eiichi Goto Invented the parametron.[7] 1954
Jim Gray Innovator in database systems and transaction processing implementation. 1974
Barbara Grosz Created the first computational model of discourse, which established the field of research and influenced language-processing technologies. Also developed SharedPlans model for collaboration in multi-agent systems. 1986
Lois Haibt Was a member of the ten-person team that invented Fortran and among the first women to play a crucial role in the development of computer science. 1954
Margaret Hamilton Credited with coining the phrase "Software engineering" and developed the concepts of asynchronous software, priority scheduling, end-to-end testing, and human-in-the-loop decision capability, such as priority displays which then became the foundation for ultra reliable software design. 1971
André Truong Trong Thi and François Gernelle Invention of the Micral N, the earliest commercial, non-kit personal computer based on a microprocessor 1972 1973
Grete Hermann Published foundational paper for computerized algebra titled "The Question of Finitely Many Steps in Polynomial Ideal Theory", and published in Mathematische Annalen. [8] 1926
C.A.R. Hoare Developed the formal language communicating sequential processes (CSP) and Quicksort. 1960
Betty Holberton Wrote the first mainframe sort merge on the Univac 1968
Herman Hollerith Widely regarded as the father of modern machine data processing. His invention of the punched card evaluating machine marks the beginning of the era of automatic data processing systems. 1889
Grace Hopper Pioneered work on the necessity for high-level programming languages, which she termed automatic programming, and wrote the A-O compiler, which heavily influenced the COBOL language. 1952
Feng-hsiung Hsu Work led to the creation of the Deep Thought chess computer, and the architect and the principal designer of the IBM Deep Blue chess computer which defeated the reigning World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov, in 1997. 1997
Cuthbert Hurd Helped the International Business Machines Corporation develop its first general-purpose computer, the IBM 701. 1952
Kenneth E. Iverson Assisted in establishing the first graduate course in computer science (at Harvard) and taught that course; invented the APL programming language and made contribution to interactive computing. 1954; 1962
Joseph Marie Jacquard Built and demonstrated the Jacquard loom, a programmable mechanized loom controlled by punch cards. 1801
Al-Jazari Invented programmable machines, including programmable humanoid robots,[9] and the castle clock, an astronomical clock considered the first programmable analog computer.[10] 1206
Maurice Karnaugh Inventor of the Karnaugh map, used for logic function minimization. 1953
Jacek Karpinski Developed the first differential analyzer that used transistors, and developed one of the first machine learning algorithms for character and image recognition. Also was the inventor of one of the first minicomputers, the K-202. 1973
Alan Kay Pioneered many of the ideas at the root of object-oriented programming languages, led the team that developed Smalltalk, and made fundamental contributions to personal computing. 1970~
Stephen Cole Kleene Pioneered work with Alonzo Church on the Lambda Calculus that first laid down the foundations of computation theory. 1936
Donald Knuth Wrote The Art of Computer Programming and created TeX. Coined the term "analysis of algorithms" and made major contributions to that field, including popularizing Big O notation. 1968
Leslie Lamport Formulated algorithms to solve many fundamental problems in distributed systems (e.g. the bakery algorithm).
Developed the concept of a logical clock, enabling synchronization between distributed entities based on the events through which they communicate. Created LaTeX.
Sergei Alekseyevich Lebedev Independently designed the first electronic computer in the Soviet Union, MESM, in Kiev, Ukraine. 1951
Gottfried Leibniz Made advances in symbolic logic, such as the Calculus ratiocinator, that were heavily influential on Gottlob Frege. Made developments in first-order predicate calculus that were crucial for the theoretical foundations of computer science. 1670~
J. C. R. Licklider Began the investigation of human-computer interaction, leading to many advances in computer interfaces as well as in cybernetics and artificial intelligence. 1960
Barbara Liskov Developed the Liskov substitution principle, which guarantees semantic interoperability of data types in a hierarchy. 1987
Ramon Llull Designed multiple symbolic representations machines, and pioneered notions of symbolic representation and manipulation to produce knowledge—both of which were major influences on Leibniz. 1300~
Ada Lovelace Began the study of scientific computation, analyzing Babbage's work in her Sketch of the Analytical Engine, and was the namesake for the Ada programming language. 1843
Julie Beth Lovins Wrote the first stemming algorithm for word matching. 1968
Donald MacCrimmon MacKay Elucidated important constructive mathematical properties that allowed introduction of an axiomatic information theoretical approach to Neural coding, which was further developed by introduction of Gaussian processes to neural networks by his son Sir David J. C. MacKay. 1952
John Mauchly With J. Presper Eckert, designed and built the ENIAC, the first modern (all electronic, Turing-complete) computer, and the UNIVAC I, the first commercially available computer. Also worked on BINAC(1949), EDVAC(1949), UNIVAC(1951) with Grace Hopper and Jean Bartik, to develop early stored program computers. 1943
John McCarthy Invented LISP, a functional programming language. 1955
Marvin Minsky Co-founder of Artificial Intelligence Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of several texts on AI and philosophy. 1963
Banū Mūsā The Banū Mūsā brothers wrote the Book of Ingenious Devices, where they described what appears to be the first programmable machine, an automatic flute player.[11] 0850~
Yoshiro Nakamatsu Invented the first floppy disk at Tokyo Imperial University in 1950,[12][13] receiving a 1952 Japanese patent[14][15] and 1958 US patent for his floppy magnetic disk sheet invention,[16] and licensed to Nippon Columbia in 1960[17] and IBM in the 1970s.[14][12] 1950
Akira Nakashima NEC engineer introduced switching circuit theory in papers from 1934 to 1936,[18][19][20][21] laying the foundations for digital circuit design, in digital computers and other areas of modern technology.[21] 1934
Peter Naur Edited the ALGOL 60 Revised Report, introducing Backus-Naur form 1960
Max Newman Instigated the production of the Colossus computers at Bletchley Park. After the war he established the Computing Machine Laboratory at the University of Manchester where the world's first stored-program computer, the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine was invented. 1943
John von Neumann Formulated the von Neumann architecture upon which most modern computers are based. 1945
Kristen Nygaard With Ole-Johan Dahl, invented the proto-object oriented language SIMULA. 1962
Pāṇini Ashtadhyayi Sanskrit grammar was systematised and technical, using metarules, transformations, and recursions, a forerunner to formal language theory and basis for Panini-Backus form used to describe programming languages. 0500 BC ~
Blaise Pascal Invented the mechanical calculator. 1642
Nicola Pellow Developed the first cross-platform web browser. 1991
Alan Perlis On Project Whirlwind, member of the team that developed the ALGOL programming language, and the first recipient of the Turing Award 1952
Radia Perlman Invented the spanning-tree protocol (STP), which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges, while working for Digital Equipment Corporation 1985
Pier Giorgio Perotto Designer of Olivetti Programma 101, the first personal computer. 1964
Rosalind Picard Founded Affective Computing, and laid the foundations for giving computers skills of emotional intelligence. 1995
Emil L. Post Developed the Post machine as a model of computation, independently of Turing. Known also for developing truth tables, the Post correspondence problem used in recursion theory as well as proving what is known as Post's theorem. 1936
Dennis Ritchie With Ken Thompson, pioneered the C programming language and the Unix computer operating system at Bell Labs. 1967
Ken Thompson Created the Unix operating system, the B programming language, Plan 9 operating system, the first computer chess game and the UTF-8 encoding at Bell Labs and the Go programming language at Google. 1967
Saul Rosen Designed the software of the first transistor-based computer. Also influenced the ALGOL programming language. 1958–1960
Bertrand Russell Made contributions to computer science with his work on mathematical logic (example: truth function). Introduced the notion of type theory. He also introduced type system (along with Alfred North Whitehead) in his work, Principia Mathematica. 1910
Gerard Salton A pioneer of automatic information retrieval, who proposed the vector space model and the inverted index. 1975
Tadashi Sasaki Sharp engineer who conceived a single-chip microprocessor CPU, presenting the idea to Busicom and Intel in 1968, influencing the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004. He also developed LCD calculators at Sharp.[22] 1963
Claude Shannon Founded information theory, and laid foundations for practical digital circuit design. 1937
Masatoshi Shima Designed the Intel 4004, the first commercial microprocessor,[23][24] as well as the Intel 8080, Zilog Z80 and Zilog Z8000 microprocessors, and the Intel 8259, 8255, 8253, 8257 and 8251 chips.[25] 1968
Shiraz Shivji Designed the Atari ST[26] and Commodore 64 computers,[27] as well as an early touchscreen tablet computer, the Momenta Pentop Computer introduced in 1991.[28] 1981
Glenda Schroeder Implemented the first command line user interface shell.[29] She also described the first e-mail implementation [30] in 1964-65 (with Pat Crisman and Louis Pouzin) by outlining a system of notifying users about backups of files.[31] 1964
Herbert A. Simon A political scientist and economist who pioneered artificial intelligence. Co-creator of the Logic Theory Machine and the General Problem Solver programs. 1956
Richard Stallman Stallman launched the GNU Project in September 1983 to create a Unix-like computer operating system composed entirely of free software. With this, he also launched the free software movement. 1970
Michael Stonebraker Researcher at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) who revolutionized the field of database management systems (DBMSs) and founded multiple successful database companies 1982
Ivan Sutherland Author of Sketchpad, the ancestor of modern computer-aided drafting (CAD) programs and one of the early examples of object-oriented programming. 1963
Yasaharu "Yash" Terakura Commodore Japan engineer who designed the color PET, VIC-20, MAX Machine and C64 computers.[32] 1978
John W. Tukey With James Cooley, created the fast Fourier transform. 1965
Alan Turing Made several founding contributions to computer science, including the Turing machine computational model, the conceiving of the stored program concept and the designing of the high-speed ACE design. Widely considered as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. 1936
Noriko Umeda His team at Japan's Electrotechnical Laboratory developed the first text-to-speech synthesis system.[33] 1968
An Wang Made key contributions to the development of magnetic core memory. 1950~
Willis Ware Co-designer of JOHNNIAC. Chaired committee that developed the Code of Fair Information Practice and led to the Privacy Act of 1974. Vice-chair of the Privacy Protection Study Commission. 1955
Adriaan van Wijngaarden Developer of the W-grammar first used in the definition of ALGOL 68 1968
Maurice Wilkes Built the first practical stored program computer (EDSAC) to be completed and for being credited with the ideas of several high-level programming language constructs. 1949
Sophie Wilson Wrote BBC Basic programming language. Also designed the ARM architecture and Firepath processors 1981
Niklaus Wirth Designed the Pascal, Modula-2 and Oberon programming languages. 1970
Konrad Zuse Built the first digital freely programmable computer, the Z1. Built the first functional program-controlled computer, the Z3.[34] The Z3 was proven to be Turing-complete in 1998. Produced the world's first commercial computer, the Z4. Designed the first high-level programming language, Plankalkül. 1938

~ Items marked with a tilde are circa dates.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Mario Tokoro, ed. (2010). "9". e: From Understanding Principles to Solving Problems. pp. 223–224. ISBN 978-1-60750-468-9. 
  2. ^ Cristopher Moore, Stephan Mertens (2011). The Nature of Computation. Oxford University Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-19-162080-5. 
  3. ^ A. P. Ershov, Donald Ervin Knuth, ed. (1981). Algorithms in modern mathematics and computer science: proceedings, Urgench, Uzbek SSR, September 16-22, 1979. Springer. ISBN 978-3-540-11157-3. 
  4. ^ a b "Per Brinch Hansen • IEEE Computer Society". Retrieved 2015-12-15. 
  5. ^ Brinch Hansen, Per (April 1993). "Monitors and Concurrent Pascal: a personal history" (PDF). 2nd ACM Conference on the History of Programming Languages. 
  6. ^ Brinch Hansen, Per (November 1978). "Distributed processes: a concurrent programming concept" (PDF). Communications of the ACM. doi:10.1145/359642.359651. 
  7. ^ Parametron, Information Processing Society of Japan
  8. ^ Grete Hermann (1926). "Die Frage der endlich vielen Schritte in der Theorie der Polynomideale". Mathematische Annalen. 95: 736–788. doi:10.1007/bf01206635. 
  9. ^ A 13th Century Programmable Robot Archived 2007-06-29 at the Wayback Machine., University of Sheffield
  10. ^ "Ancient Discoveries, Episode 11: Ancient Robots". History Channel. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 
  11. ^ Koetsier, Teun (2001). "On the prehistory of programmable machines: musical automata, looms, calculators". Mechanism and Machine Theory. Elsevier. 36 (5): 589–603. doi:10.1016/S0094-114X(01)00005-2. 
  12. ^ a b G. W. A. Dummer (1997), Electronic Inventions and Discoveries, page 164, Institute of Physics
  13. ^ Valerie-Anne Giscard d'Estaing (1990), The Book of Inventions and Discoveries, page 124, Queen Anne Press
  14. ^ a b Lazarus, David (April 10, 1995). "'Japan's Edison' Is Country's Gadget King : Japanese Inventor Holds Record for Patent". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  15. ^ YOSHIRO NAKAMATSU – THE THOMAS EDISON OF JAPAN, Stellarix Consultancy Services, 2015
  16. ^ Magnetic record sheet, Patent US3131937
  17. ^ Graphic Arts Japan, Volume 2 (1960), pages 20-22
  18. ^ History of Research on Switching Theory in Japan, IEEJ Transactions on Fundamentals and Materials, Vol. 124 (2004) No. 8, pp. 720-726, Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan
  19. ^ Switching Theory/Relay Circuit Network Theory/Theory of Logical Mathematics, IPSJ Computer Museum, Information Processing Society of Japan
  20. ^ Radomir S. Stanković (University of Niš), Jaakko T. Astola (Tampere University of Technology), Mark G. Karpovsky (Boston University), Some Historical Remarks on Switching Theory, 2007, DOI
  21. ^ a b Radomir S. Stanković, Jaakko Astola (2008), Reprints from the Early Days of Information Sciences: TICSP Series On the Contributions of Akira Nakashima to Switching Theory, TICSP Series #40, Tampere International Center for Signal Processing, Tampere University of Technology
  22. ^ Aspray, William (1994-05-25). "Oral-History: Tadashi Sasaki". Interview #211 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  23. ^ Nigel Tout. "The Busicom 141-PF calculator and the Intel 4004 microprocessor". Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  24. ^ Federico Faggin, The Making of the First Microprocessor, IEEE Solid-State Circuits Magazine, Winter 2009, IEEE Xplore
  25. ^ Shima Masatoshi, Information Processing Society of Japan
  26. ^ InfoWorld, October 16, 1989, page 44
  27. ^ Classic Videogame Hardware Genius Guide, page 230, Imagine Publishing
  28. ^ Momenta Corporation 1/40 Pentop Computer, Rhode Island Computer Museum, 1991
  29. ^ The Origin of the Shell
  30. ^ The History of Electronic Mail
  31. ^
  32. ^ Yash Terakura joins Throwback Entertainment as CTO (press release), 2007-05-11
  33. ^ Klatt, D (1987). "Review of text-to-speech conversion for English". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 82 (3): 737–93. doi:10.1121/1.395275. 
  34. ^

External linksEdit