List of pioneers in computer science
- 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||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. 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. Co-developed the monitor with Tony Hoare, and created the first monitor implementation. Implemented the first form of remote procedure call in the RC 4000, and was first to propose remote procedure calls as a structuring concept for distributed computing.|
|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. 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.|
|Are known for their work on creating ARM 32bit RISC microprocessor.|
|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. 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. He established concept of perfect code.|
|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, and the castle clock, an astronomical clock considered the first programmable analog computer.|
|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.|
|1950, 1960||Nakamatsu Yoshirō||Invented the first floppy disk at Tokyo Imperial University in 1950, receiving a 1952 Japanese patent and 1958 US patent for his floppy magnetic disk sheet invention, and licensed to Nippon Columbia in 1960 and IBM in the 1970s.|
|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.|
|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 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.|
|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.|
|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, as well as the Intel 8080, Zilog Z80 and Zilog Z8000 microprocessors, and the Intel 8259, 8255, 8253, 8257 and 8251 chips.|
|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".|
|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. 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.
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