List of pioneers in computer science  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

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


Template:Abbr Date Person Achievement
0830~ Al-KhwarizmI The term "algorithm" is derived from the algorism, the technique of performing arithmetic with Arabic numerals developed by al-Khwarizmi.
1944 Howard Aiken Conceived and codesigned the Harvard Mark I.
Frances E. Allen 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 John Atanasoff Built the first electronic digital computer, the Atanasoff–Berry Computer, though it was neither programmable nor Turing-complete.
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.
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.
Tim Berners-Lee Invented World Wide Web. With Robert Cailliau, sent first HTTP communication between client and server.
1966 Corrado Böhm Theorized of the concept of structured programming.
George Boole Formalized Boolean algebra, the basis for digital logic and computer science.
1947 Kathleen Booth Invented the first assembly language.
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. 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,
Fred Brooks Manager of IBM System/360 and OS/360 projects; author of The Mythical Man-Month.
1930 Vannevar Bush Analogue computing pioneer. Originator of the Memex concept, which led to the development of Hypertext.
1951 David CaminerTemplate:Undue inline With John Pinkerton, developed the LEO computer, the first business computer, for J. Lyons and Co
1978 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.
1956 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.
1936 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.
1962 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.
1981 Edmund M. Clarke Developed model checking and formal verification of software and hardware together with E. Allen Emerson.
1970 Edgar F. Codd Proposed and formalized the relational model of data management, the theoretical basis of relational databases.
1971 Stephen Cook Formalized the notion of NP-completeness, inspiring a great deal of research in computational complexity theory.
1965 James Cooley With John W. Tukey, created the fast Fourier transform.
1962 Ole-Johan Dahl With Kristen Nygaard, invented the proto-object oriented language SIMULA.
1968 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.
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.
1981 E. Allen Emerson Developed model checking and formal verification of software and hardware together with Edmund M. Clarke.
1963 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.
1974 Elizabeth Feinler Her team defined a simple text file format for Internet host names.[29] 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 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.
1994 Sally Floyd Is known for her work on Transmission Control Protocol.
1879 Gottlob Frege Developed first-order predicate calculus, which was a crucial precursor requirement to developing computation theory.
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.
1931 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.
2011 Susan L. GrahamTemplate:Undue inline 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".
Jim Gray Innovator in database systems and transaction processing implementation.
Barbara GroszTemplate:Undue inline 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 Margaret Hamilton Credited with coining the phrase "Software engineering"Template:Dubious 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.
1950 Richard Hamming 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.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn He established concept of perfect code.Template:SfnTemplate:Sfn
1972 1973 André Truong Trong Thi and François GernelleTemplate:Undue inline Invention of the Micral N, the earliest commercial, non-kit personal computer based on a microprocessor.
C.A.R. Hoare Developed the formal language communicating sequential processes (CSP), Hoare logic for verifying program correctness and Quicksort.
1968 Betty Holberton Wrote the first mainframe sort merge on the Univac
1889 Herman Hollerith 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 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.
1997 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.
1952 Cuthbert Hurd Helped the International Business Machines Corporation develop its first general-purpose computer, the IBM 701.
1954; 1962 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.
1801 Joseph Marie Jacquard 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.
Karen Spärck Jones Template:Undue inline Was one of the pioneers of information retrieval and natural language processing.
Maurice Karnaugh Inventor of the Karnaugh map, used for logic function minimization.
1973 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.
1970~ 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.
1936 Stephen Cole Kleene Pioneered work with Alonzo Church on the Lambda Calculus that first laid down the foundations of computation theory.
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.
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.
1951 Sergei Alekseyevich Lebedev Independently designed the first electronic computer in the Soviet Union, MESM, in Kiev, Ukraine.
1670~ 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.
1960 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.
1987 Barbara Liskov Developed the Liskov substitution principle, which guarantees semantic interoperability of data types in a hierarchy.
1300~ 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.
Ada Lovelace 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.
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.
1955 John McCarthy Invented LISP, a functional programming language.
1963 Marvin Minsky Co-founder of Artificial Intelligence Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, author of several texts on AI and philosophy.
2007 Nick McKeown, Scott Shenkar, Martin Casado Created Software Defined Networking
0850~ 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.
Yoshiro Nakamatsu Invented the first floppy disk at Tokyo Imperial University in 1950, and 1958 US patent for his floppy magnetic disk sheet invention, and licensed to Nippon Columbia in 1960 and IBM in the 1970s.
Akira Nakashima 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 Peter Naur Edited the ALGOL 60 Revised Report, introducing Backus-Naur form
1945 John von Neumann Formulated the von Neumann architecture upon which most modern computers are based.
1943 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.
1962 Kristen Nygaard With Ole-Johan Dahl, invented the proto-object oriented language SIMULA.
0500 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 Blaise Pascal Invented the mechanical calculator.
1952 Alan Perlis On Project Whirlwind, member of the team that developed the ALGOL programming language, and the first recipient of the Turing Award
1985 Radia Perlman 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 Pier Giorgio PerottoTemplate:Undue inline Designer of Olivetti Programma 101, the first Desktop Computer, arguably the first kind of personal computer.
1932 Rózsa Péter Published a series of papers grounding recursion theory as a separate area of mathematical research, setting the foundation for theoretical computer science.
1995 Rosalind Picard Template:Undue inline Founded Affective Computing, and laid the foundations for giving computers skills of emotional intelligence.
1936 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.
1967 Dennis Ritchie With Ken Thompson, pioneered the C programming language and the Unix computer operating system at Bell Labs.
1958–1960 Saul Rosen Designed the software of the first transistor-based computer. Also influenced the ALGOL programming language.
1910 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.
1975 Gerard SaltonTemplate:Undue inline A pioneer of automatic information retrieval, who proposed the vector space model and the inverted index.
1962 Jean E. Sammet 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.
Tadashi SasakiTemplate:Undue inline 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.
Claude Shannon Founded information theory, and laid foundations for practical digital circuit design.
Masatoshi Shima 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.
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.
1972 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.
1982 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
1979 Bjarne Stroustrup Invented C++ at Bell Labs
1963 Ivan Sutherland Author of Sketchpad, the ancestor of modern computer-aided drafting (CAD) programs and one of the early examples of object-oriented programming.
1967 Ken Thompson 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 Chai Keong Toh 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 Linus Torvalds Created the first version of the Linux kernel.
1965 John W. Tukey With James Cooley, created the fast Fourier transform. He invented the term "bit".
1936 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.
1968 Noriko Umeda His team at Japan's Electrotechnical Laboratory developed the first text-to-speech synthesis system.
1950~ An Wang Made key contributions to the development of magnetic core memory.
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.
1968 Adriaan van Wijngaarden Developer of the W-grammar first used in the definition of ALGOL 68
1949 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.
Niklaus Wirth Designed the Pascal, Modula-2 and Oberon programming languages.
Konrad Zuse 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.

See also

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