some Computer

  P e o p l e  

CPT 105 · Franklin College · Erich Prisner · 2002-2007

Howard Aiken

In 1943, Howard Aiken build, with financial assistance of IBM, the first larger electronic relay computer, Mark I, at Harvard University.

Konrad Zuse

"Data processing starts with the bit"

Konrad Zuse was building one of the first digital computers in 1938 and 1941. They were based on relays. In 1949 he founded his own computer company.


Alan Turing

"[...] he must aim at becoming educated. If he is solely a Scientific Specialist, he is wasting his time at Public School" (his headmaster)

Alan Turing was born in 1912 . After a hard time at public school, he studied Mathematics in Cambridge. During World War II he was one of the main persons involved in breaking the German enigma code. Then he became Reader in Liverpool. He got in trouble for his homosexuality. Turing died in 1954 of a poisoned apple.

Turing described in a 1936 paper what is now called a Turing machine---a theoretical description of a computer. He showed that such an imaginary universal Turing machine could do every computation that might be required.

In 1950, Turing proposed what is now called the "Turing test" to test the artificial intelligence of a computer. He died in 1954.

 John von Neumann

"If people do not believe that mathematics is simple, it is only because they do not realize how complicated life is."


Von Neumann's main contribution to the field of Computing is the invention of the stored-program concept in 1945. That means that both the data as well as the program executing the data are stored in the computer's memory. The first computers with this "von Neumann architecture" were the Mark 1 (GB) and the EDVAC (USA), both in 1949. 

 Grace Hopper

"It is easier to get forgiveness than permission"

Grace Hopper was trained as a mathematician, but volunteered in 1943 at the US Naval Reserve. There she was immediately involved in working with the Mark I computer. She did most of the early programming, first by wiring, and then using machine language. In her paper "The Eduaction of a Computer" (1952) she discusses the idea of what is now called higher programming languages. She also wrote the first compiler, and was involved in designing the COBOL programming language. In the early days of computing, Grace Hopper forged the expression "computer bug" when she found out that a misfunction of the computer was due to a (dead?) moth inside.

Bill Gates


Founder of the famous Microsoft company

Jim Knopf

"Father of shareware"

Jim Knopf, also known under the name "Jim Button", was born in 1943, and worked as an engineer for IBM. In 1982 he developed his "PC-File" database program and distributed it as shareware. He got so successful that he founded his own company "ButtonWare" in 1984. After heart attacks, Jim Knopf retired in the nineties.

Tim Barners-Lee


Linus Thorwald

"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu)" (Thorwald's email to the community in 1991)


Bjarne Stroustrup

"Everyone should aim at being proficient in more than one language - that holds for both programming languages and natural languages"

Inventor of the C++ programming language (1985).

John Atanasoff

Together with his student Clifford Berry, he build the probably first full working computer (ABC) between 1939 and 1942 at the University of Iowa.

Ron Rivest



Dennis Ritchie



James Gosling


creator of the Java programming language in the early nineties.

Edgar .F. Codd


inventor of the relational database model.

Rasmus Lerdorf


Inventor of PHP

John Backus


Inventor of the first higher programming language (FORTRAN, 1954-1957) and also inventor of the concept of parallel computing.

Marc Andreessen


Marc Andreessen creates the first graphical web browser, mosaic, in 1993. A little later he cofounds Netscape and distributes a slighly improved version as Netscape Navigator.

Dan Bricklin



Jack Kilby


He invented the integrated circuit in 1958, independently Robert Noyce did invent this at the same time. For this he got the Nobel prize in 2000. Compare this Wikipedia article.


Al Shugart

".......Your priority has to be on being nice, not on being successful. If you're a nice person and you're talented, then success will follow. If you're a nice person and you're not talented, success won't follow, but at least you're a nice person and you'll enjoy life. "

invented the hard drive

Marc Dean



Steve Wozniak