List of pioneers in computer science

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


To put the list in chronological order, click the small "up-down" icon in the Date column. The Person column can also be sorted alphabetically, up-down.
830~ Al-Khwarizmi[1][2][3] The term "algorithm" is derived from the algorism, the technique of performing arithmetic with Hindu–Arabic numerals popularised by al-Khwarizmi in his book On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals.
1944 Aiken, Howard Conceived and codesigned the Harvard Mark I.
1970, 1989 Allen, Frances E. Developed bit vector notation and program control flow graphs. Became the first female IBM Fellow in 1989. In 2006, she became the first female recipient of the ACM's Turing Award.
1939 Atanasoff, John Built the first electronic digital computer, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer, though it was neither programmable nor Turing-complete.
1822, 1837 Babbage, Charles Originated the concept of a programmable general-purpose computer. Designed the Analytical Engine and built a prototype for a less powerful mechanical calculator.
1954, 1963 Backus, John 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.
1874 Baudot, Émile French telegraphic engineer patents the Baudot code, the first means of digital communication[4]. The modem speed unit baud is named after him.
1989, 1990 Berners-Lee, Tim Invented World Wide Web. With Robert Cailliau, sent first HTTP communication between client and server.
1966 Böhm, Corrado Theorized of the concept of structured programming.
1847, 1854 Boole, George Formalized Boolean algebra, the basis for digital logic and computer science.
1947 Booth, Kathleen Invented the first assembly language.
1969, 1978 Brinch Hansen, Per 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.[5] Co-developed the monitor with Tony Hoare, and created the first monitor implementation.[6] Implemented the first form of remote procedure call in the RC 4000,[5] and was first to propose remote procedure calls as a structuring concept for distributed computing.[7]
1959, 1995 Brooks, Fred Manager of IBM System/360 and OS/360 projects; author of The Mythical Man-Month.
1908 Brouwer, Luitzen Egbertus Jan Founded intuitionistic logic which later came to prevalent use in proof assistants.
1930 Bush, Vannevar Analogue computing pioneer. Originator of the Memex concept, which led to the development of Hypertext.
1951 Caminer, David With John Pinkerton, developed the LEO computer, the first business computer, for J. Lyons and Co
1978 Cerf, Vint 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.
1956 Chomsky, Noam 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.
1936 Church, Alonzo Founded contributions to theoretical computer science, specifically for the development of the lambda calculus and the discovery of the undecidability problem within it.
1962 Clark, Wesley A. 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.
1981 Clarke, Edmund M. Developed model checking and formal verification of software and hardware together with E. Allen Emerson.
1970 Codd, Edgar F. Proposed and formalized the relational model of data management, the theoretical basis of relational databases.
1971 Conway, Lynn Superscalar architecture with multiple-issue out-of-order dynamic instruction scheduling.
1967 Cook, Stephen Formalized the notion of NP-completeness, inspiring a great deal of research in computational complexity theory.
1965 Cooley, James With John W. Tukey, created the fast Fourier transform.
1962 Dahl, Ole-Johan With Kristen Nygaard, invented the proto-object oriented language SIMULA.
1968 Dijkstra, Edsger 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.
1918 Eccles, William and Jordan, Frank Wilfred British physicists patent the Eccles–Jordan trigger circuit[8]. The so-called bistable flip-flop, this circuit is a building block of all digital memory cells. Built from Vacuum tubes, their concept was essential for the success of the Colossus codebreaking computer.
1943, 1951 Eckert, J. Presper 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.
1981 Emerson, E. Allen Developed model checking and formal verification of software and hardware together with Edmund M. Clarke.
1963 Engelbart, Douglas 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.
1971 Faggin, Federico Designed the first commercial microprocessor (Intel 4004).
1974 Feinler, Elizabeth Her team defined a simple text file format for Internet host names. The list evolved into the Domain Name System and her group became the naming authority for the top-level domains of .mil, .gov, .edu, .org, and .com.
1943 Flowers, Tommy Designed and built the Mark 1 and the ten improved Mark 2 Colossus computers, the world's first programmable, digital, electronic, computing devices.
1994 Floyd, Sally Founded the field of Active Queue Management and co-invented Random Early Detection which is used in almost all Internet routers.
1879 Frege, Gottlob Extended Aristotelian logic with first-order predicate calculus, independently of Charles Sanders Peirce, a crucial precursor in computability theory. Also relevant to early work on artificial intelligence, logic programming.
1880, 1898 Sanders Peirce, Charles Proved the functional completeness of the NOR gate. Proposed the implementation of logic via electrical circuits, decades before Claude Shannon. Extended Aristotelian logic with first-order predicate calculus, independently of Gottlob Frege, a crucial precursor in computability theory. Also relevant to early work on artificial intelligence, logic programming.
1985 Furber, Stephen
Sophie Wilson
Are known for their work on creating ARM 32bit RISC microprocessor.[9]
1958, 1961, 1967 Ginsburg, Seymour 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.
1931 Gödel, Kurt Proved that Peano 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.
1989 Goldwasser, Shafi Zero-knowledge proofs invented by Goldwasser, Micali and Rackoff. Goldwasser and Micali awarded the Turing Award in 2012 for this and other work.
2011 Graham, Susan L. Awarded the 2009 IEEE John von Neumann Medal for "contributions to programming language design and implementation and for exemplary service to the discipline of computer science".
1953 Gray, Frank Physicist and researcher at Bell Labs, developed the reflected binary code (RBC) or Gray code[10]. Gray's methodologies are used for error detection and correction in digital communication systems, such as QAM in digital subscriber line networks.
1974, 2005 Gray, Jim Innovator in database systems and transaction processing implementation.
1986, 1990 Grosz, Barbara 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.
1971 Hamilton, Margaret 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.
1950 Hamming, Richard Created the mathematical field of error-correcting code, Hamming code, Hamming matrix, the Hamming window, Hamming numbers, sphere-packing (or Hamming bound), and the Hamming distance.[11][12] He established concept of perfect code.[13][14]
1972, 1973 Thi, André Truong Trong and François Gernelle Invention of the Micral N, the earliest commercial, non-kit personal computer based on a microprocessor.
1981, 1995, 1999 Hejlsberg, Anders Author of Turbo Pascal while at Borland, the chief architect of Delphi, and designer and lead architect of C# at Microsoft.
2008, 2012 Hinton, Geoffrey Popularized and enabled the use of artificial neural networks and deep learning, which rank among the most successful tools in modern artificial intelligence efforts.
1961, 1969, 1978 Hoare, C.A.R. Developed the formal language Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP), Hoare logic for verifying program correctness, and Quicksort.
1968 Holberton, Betty Wrote the first mainframe sort merge on the Univac
1889 Hollerith, Herman Widely regarded as the father of modern machine data processing. His invention of the punched card tabulating machine marks the beginning of the era of semiautomatic data processing systems.
1952 Hopper, Grace 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.
1997 Hsu Feng-hsiung 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.
1952 Hurd, Cuthbert Helped the International Business Machines Corporation develop its first general-purpose computer, the IBM 701.
1945, 1953 Huskey, Harry Early computer design including contributions to the ENIAC, EDVAC, Pilot ACE, EDVAC, SEAC, SWAC, and Bendix G-15 computers. The G-15 has been described as the first personal computer, being operable by one person.
1954, 1962 Iverson, Kenneth 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.
1801 Jacquard, Joseph Marie Built and demonstrated the Jacquard loom, a programmable mechanized loom controlled by a tape constructed from punched cards.
1206 Al-Jazari Invented programmable machines, including programmable humanoid robots,[15] and the castle clock, an astronomical clock considered the first programmable analog computer.[16]
1953 Spärck Jones, Karen One of the pioneers of information retrieval and natural language processing.
1970, 1990 Karnaugh, Maurice Inventor of the Karnaugh map, used for logic function minimization.
1973 Karpinski, Jacek 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.
1970~ Kay, Alan 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.
1936 Kleene, Stephen Cole Pioneered work with Alonzo Church on the Lambda Calculus that first laid down the foundations of computation theory.
1968, 1989 Knuth, Donald 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.
1974, 1978 Lamport, Leslie 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.
1951 Lebedev, Sergei Alekseyevich Independently designed the first electronic computer in the Soviet Union, MESM, in Kiev, Ukraine.
1670~ Leibniz, Gottfried 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.
1960 Licklider, J. C. R. Began the investigation of human–computer interaction, leading to many advances in computer interfaces as well as in cybernetics and artificial intelligence.
1987 Liskov, Barbara Developed the Liskov substitution principle, which guarantees semantic interoperability of data types in a hierarchy.
1300~ Llull, Ramon Designed multiple symbolic representations machines, and pioneered notions of symbolic representation and manipulation to produce knowledge—both of which were major influences on Leibniz.
1815, 1852 Lovelace, Ada An English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first to recognize that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and created the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first to recognize the full potential of a "computing machine" and the first computer programmer.
1909 Ludgate, Percy Charles Babbage in 1843 and Percy Ludgate in 1909 designed the first two Analytical Engines in history. Ludgate's engine used multiplication as its basis (using his own discrete "Irish Logarithms"), had the first multiplier-accumulator (MAC), was first to exploit a MAC to perform division, stored numbers as displacements of rods in shuttles, and had several other novel features, including for program control.
1971 Martin-Löf, Per Published an early draft on the type theory that many proof assistants build on.
1943, 1951 Mauchly, John 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.
1958 McCarthy, John Invented LISP, a functional programming language.
1956, 2012 McCluskey, Edward J. Fundamental contributions that shaped the design and testing of digital systems, including the first algorithm for digital logic synthesis, the Quine-McCluskey logic minimization method.
1963 Minsky, Marvin Co-founder of Artificial Intelligence Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of several texts on AI and philosophy. Critic of the perceptron.
850~ 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.[17]
1950, 1960 Nakamatsu Yoshirō Invented the first floppy disk at Tokyo Imperial University in 1950,[18][19] receiving a 1952 Japanese patent[20][21] and 1958 US patent for his floppy magnetic disk sheet invention,[22] and licensed to Nippon Columbia in 1960[23] and IBM in the 1970s.[20][18]
2008 Nakamoto, Satoshi The anonymous creator or creators of Bitcoin, the first peer-to-peer digital currency. Nakamoto's 2008 white-paper introduced the concept of the blockchain, a database structure that allows full trust in the decentralized and distributed public transaction ledger of the cryptocurrency[24].
1934, 1938 Nakashima Akira NEC engineer introduced switching circuit theory in papers from 1934 to 1936, laying the foundations for digital circuit design, in digital computers and other areas of modern technology.
1960 Naur, Peter Edited the ALGOL 60 Revised Report, introducing Backus-Naur form
1945 Neumann, John von Formulated the von Neumann architecture upon which most modern computers are based.
1956 Newell, Allen Together with J. C. Shaw[25] and Herbert Simon, the three co-wrote the Logic Theorist, the first true AI program, in the first list-processing language, which influenced LISP.
1943 Newman, Max 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 he created the project that built the world's first stored-program computer, the Manchester Baby.
1962 Nygaard, Kristen With Ole-Johan Dahl, invented the proto-object oriented language SIMULA.
500 BC ~ 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.
1642 Pascal, Blaise Invented the mechanical calculator.
1952 Perlis, Alan On Project Whirlwind, member of the team that developed the ALGOL programming language, and the first recipient of the Turing Award
1985 Perlman, Radia Invented the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges, while working for Digital Equipment Corporation. Has done extensive and innovative research, particularly on encryption and networking. She received the USENIX Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007, among numerous others.
1964 Perotto, Pier Giorgio Designer of Olivetti Programma 101, the first Desktop Computer, arguably the first kind of personal computer.[26]
1932 Péter, Rózsa Published a series of papers grounding recursion theory as a separate area of mathematical research, setting the foundation for theoretical computer science.
1995 Picard, Rosalind Founded Affective Computing, and laid the foundations for giving computers skills of emotional intelligence.
1936 Post, Emil L. 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.
1967–2011 Ritchie, Dennis With Ken Thompson, pioneered the C programming language and the Unix computer operating system at Bell Labs.
1958–1960 Rosen, Saul Designed the software of the first transistor-based computer. Also influenced the ALGOL programming language.
1910 Russell, Bertrand 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.
1975 Salton, Gerard A pioneer of automatic information retrieval, who proposed the vector space model and the inverted index.
1962 Sammet, Jean E. Developed the FORMAC programming language. She was also the first to write extensively about the history and categorization of programming languages in 1969, and became the first female president of the Association for Computing Machinery in 1974.
1963, 1973 Sasaki Tadashi Sharp engineer who conceived a single-chip microprocessor CPU, presenting the idea to Busicom and Intel in 1968. This influenced the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004; before Busicom, Intel was a memory manufacturer. Tadashi Sasaki also developed LCD calculators at Sharp.[27]
1937, 1948 Shannon, Claude Founded information theory, and laid foundations for practical digital circuit design.
1968, 1980 Shima Masatoshi Designed the Intel 4004, the first commercial microprocessor,[28][29] as well as the Intel 8080, Zilog Z80 and Zilog Z8000 microprocessors, and the Intel 8259, 8255, 8253, 8257 and 8251 chips.[30]
1956, 1957 Simon, Herbert A. A political scientist and economist who pioneered artificial intelligence. Co-creator of the Logic Theory Machine and the General Problem Solver programs.
1972 Stallman, Richard 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.
1982 Stonebraker, Michael 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
1979 Stroustrup, Bjarne Invented C++ at Bell Labs
1963 Sutherland, Ivan Author of Sketchpad, the ancestor of modern computer-aided drafting (CAD) programs and one of the early examples of object-oriented programming.
1967 Thompson, Ken Created the Unix operating system, the B programming language, Plan 9 operating system, the first machine to achieve a Master rating in chess, and the UTF-8 encoding at Bell Labs and the Go programming language at Google.
1993 Toh Chai Keong Created mobile ad hoc networking; Implemented the first working wireless ad hoc network of laptop computers in 1998 using Linux OS, Lucent WaveLan 802.11 radios, and a new distributed routing protocol transparent to TCP/UDP/IP.
1991 Torvalds, Linus Created the first version of the Linux kernel.
1852 Torres Quevedo, Leonardo In his work Ensayos Sobre Automatica, published for the first time in 1914, Torres Quevedo formulates what will be a new branch of engineering: Automation.
1965 Tukey, John W. With James Cooley, created the fast Fourier transform. He invented the term "bit".[31]
1936 Turing, Alan 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.
1950~ Wang An Made key contributions to the development of magnetic core memory.
1955, 1960s, 1974 Ware, Willis 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.
1968 Wijngaarden, Adriaan van Developer of the W-grammar first used in the definition of ALGOL 68
1949 Wilkes, Maurice 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.
1970, 1978 Wirth, Niklaus Designed the Pascal, Modula-2 and Oberon programming languages.
1875, 1875 Verea, Ramón Designed and patented the Verea Direct Multiplier, the first mechanical direct multiplier.
1938, 1945 Zuse, Konrad Built the first digital freely programmable computer, the Z1. Built the first functional program-controlled computer, the Z3.[32] 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.

~ Items marked with a tilde are circa dates.

See also


  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.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  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. "Jean-Maurice- Emile Baudot. Système de télégraphie rapide, June 1874. Brevet 103,898; Source: Archives Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI)".
  5. "Per Brinch Hansen • IEEE Computer Society". Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  6. Brinch Hansen, Per (April 1993). "Monitors and Concurrent Pascal: a personal history" (PDF). 2nd ACM Conference on the History of Programming Languages.
  7. Brinch Hansen, Per (November 1978). "Distributed processes: a concurrent programming concept" (PDF). Communications of the ACM. 21 (11): 934–941. CiteSeerX doi:10.1145/359642.359651.
  8. William Henry Eccles and Frank Wilfred Jordan, "Improvements in ionic relays" British patent number: GB 148582 (filed: 21 June 1918; published: 5 August 1920). Available on-line at: .
  9. "Computer History Museum | Fellow Awards - Steve Furber".
  10. Gray, Frank (1953-03-17). "Pulse code communication" (PDF). U.S. patent no. 2,632,058
  11. Morgan 1998, pp. 973–975.
  12. Hamming 1950, pp. 147–160.
  13. Ling & Xing 2004, pp. 82–88.
  14. Pless 1982, pp. 21–24.
  15. "articles58". 29 June 2007. Archived from the original on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. "Ancient Discoveries, Episode 11: Ancient Robots". History Channel. Retrieved 2008-09-06. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. Koetsier, Teun (2001). "On the prehistory of programmable machines: musical automata, looms, calculators". Mechanism and Machine Theory. 36 (5): 589–603. doi:10.1016/S0094-114X(01)00005-2.
  18. G. W. A. Dummer (1997), Electronic Inventions and Discoveries, page 164, Institute of Physics
  19. Valerie-Anne Giscard d'Estaing (1990), The Book of Inventions and Discoveries, page 124, Queen Anne Press
  20. 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.
  21. YOSHIRO NAKAMATSU – THE THOMAS EDISON OF JAPAN, Stellarix Consultancy Services, 2015
  22. Magnetic record sheet, Patent US3131937
  23. Graphic Arts Japan, Volume 2 (1960), pages 20–22
  24. Nakamoto, Satoshi (24 May 2009). ""Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" (PDF)" (PDF).
  25. Fred Joseph Gruenberger, The History of the JOHNNIAC, RAND Memorandum 5654
  26. "The independent", Pier Giorgio Perotto Obituary, Tuesday 5 February 2002
  27. 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.
  28. Nigel Tout. "The Busicom 141-PF calculator and the Intel 4004 microprocessor". Retrieved November 15, 2009.
  29. Federico Faggin, The Making of the First Microprocessor, IEEE Solid-State Circuits Magazine, Winter 2009, IEEE Xplore
  30. Japan, Information Processing Society of. "Shima Masatoshi-Computer Museum". Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  31. Claude Shannon (1948). "Bell System Technical Journal". Bell System Technical Journal.
  32. Copeland, B. Jack (25 October 2017). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Metaphysics Research Lab, Stanford University. Retrieved 25 October 2017 via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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