Important People Who Helped Build The Computer
Aiken, Howard Hathaway (1900-1973)
Harvard mathematician who, during World War II, created Charles
Babbage's dream machine, with the help of the U.S. Navy and IBM. The Harvard-IBM
MARK I, a program controlled, large scale calculating machine completed
Allen, Paul G. (1953- )
Co-founder of Microsoft Corp. Allen left the company in 1985 but
remained on the board of directors and as founded or financially supported
several innovative computer ventures, including Asymetrix and Starware
Corp. He is involved with a variety of other projects, including a Jimi
Hendrix Museum in Seattle.
Amdahl, Gene M. (1922- )
South Dakota native who helped design the IBM 704, the S/360 series.
He was the founder of the Amdahl Corp.
Andreessen, Marc (1971- )
Co-founder (at the age of 22) of Netscape Communications, along
with Silicon Graphics founder James H. Clark. Before Andreessen graduated
from the University of Illinois in Champaign, he had created the NCSA Mosaic
prototype with a team of students and staff at the university's National
Center for Supercomputing Applications.
Atanasoff, John Vincent (1904-1995)
Physics professor at Iowa State College, in 1939, he and a graduate
student, Clifford Berry, had a working prototype of the binary based ABC
(Atanasoff-Berry Computer), but the machine was abandoned when Atanasoff
went to work for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Washinton, D.C.
Babbage, Charles (1791-1871)
Eccentric, English mathematician who is considered to have conceptualized
the modern computer a century before technology let it be built. He conceptualized
the Difference Engine, a machine that would have computed lengthy scientific
tables, but money, labor, and health problems prevented its completion.
The Analytical Engine, a more ambitious plan, would have done a wide range
of calculating tasks. With it, Babbage recognized the need for an input
device, memory, a central processing unit, and an output device, and for
this he is known as the Father of Computing.
Backus, John W. (1924- )
Mathematician from Philadelphia who headed the research team at
IBM that created FORTRAN, the first machine independent programming language.
Bardeen, John (1908-1991)
Wisconsin born co-inventor of the transresistor, or transistor,
and a member of the AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories team along with
Walter Brattain and William Shockley. The three received a Nobel Prize
in physics in 1956, and Bardeen went on to share another for research on
superconductivity at low temperatures, making him the only scientist to
receive two Nobel Prizes in the same field.
Bartik, Jean (1935- )
Missouri born math prodigy recruited in 1945 to join a University
of Pennsylvania team of young women who calculated trajectories to help
wartime artillery gunners aim the weapons. The Army called Bartik and the
other women computers because of their complex work. After the Army's unveiling
of the ENIAC, Bartik began working with Adele Goldstine, revamping it to
be a stored program computer. Though they worked closely with the great
mathematician John von Neumann, it was Bartik who wrote the code.
Bell, Gordon (1934- )
Missouri born engineer who made innovations in the design of everything
from small computers to multiprocessors. The open bus structure and general
registers for memory addressing were among the innovations. He designed
the first minicomputers and time sharing computers. He founded the Computer
Museum in Boston with his wife, Gwen.
British Oxford graduate who is the father of the World Wide Web.
He created Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol
(HTTP), with a Universal Resource Locator (URL) that could locate data.
Berry, Clifford Edward (1918-1963)
New York born graduate student at Iowa State College who, along
with John Atanasoff designed but never finished the first machines to use
electronic techniques in digital calculation. Although Atanasoff is generally
credited with the machine's concept, Berry is said to have done an equal
amount of work on the actual design and construction.
Boole, George (1815 - 1864)
Self taught British mathematician. He proposed a form of logic
now known a Boolean algebra using two digits: 1 and 0.
Booth, Andrew Donald (1918- )
British engineer and physicist who was an early proponent of magnetic
drum memories for computers. By 1952, he and his father were selling fairly
reliable working drums made from brass cylinders plated with nickel. He
also tried to construct a floppy disk with oxide coated paper.
Brainerd, Paul (1947- )
Former Minnesota newspaperman who was the founder of the Aldus
Corp. His revolutionary program, Aldus PageMaker.
Brattain, Walter (1902-1987)
China born American who co-invented the transistor, with John Bardeen
and William Shockley. they shared a Nobel Prize in physics in 1956.
Bricklin, Dan (1951- )
Conceived and designed the first electronic spreadsheet, VISICALC,
which was released in 1979. Bob Frankston, wrote the code.
Burroughs, William S. (1857-1898)
New York born inventor who, after working in a bank, was so appalled
by the inaccuracies of hand accounting that he created and patented a printing
adding machine in 1888.
Cerf, Vinton G. (1943- )
Born in New Haven, Conn., the Father of the Internet co-developed
the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol)
Cray, Seymour (1925-1996)
Wisconsin born inventor who made the computer SUPER and fast with
his innovations and also founded the Control Data Corp. along with William
Norris and seven others.
Eckert, John Presper (1919-1995)
Pennsylvania physicist who worked with John W. Mauchly and a 50
member team to create the first general purpose electronic calculator,
known as the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Calculator).
Engelbart, Douglas C. (1925- )
Oregon native who is famous for inventing and patenting the first
computer mouse in 1963. He holds about 20 patents, mostly for basic features
in micro computing.
Inventor who, created the Video Circuit Board, Pennywhistle modem,
Osborne 1 computer along with Adam Osborne, Expander Computer, Sol computer.
Flowers, Thomas H. (1905- )
Engineer who led the team that created a fast, digital, all electronic
machine called the COLOSSUS, of which several copies were presumably used
for British code breaking during World War II.
Forrester, Jay Wright (1918- )
Nebraska native and MIT professor who made an important innovation
in the way magnetic core memory was arranged and led the team that created
Whirlwind, which was made to control flight simulators but ended up being
used for any problems requiring real time control.
Gates, William Henry III (1955 -)
Seattle born Harvard dropout who, with Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft.
Geschke, Charles M.
The founder of Adobe Systems in 1982 who, along with John Warnock,
went on to create what will become known as the desktop publishing.
Mathematician who wrote the manual for the ENIAC and also was involved
with its programming.
Goldstine, Herman Heine (1913- )
Mathematician (Husband of Adele Goldstine) who helped design the
ENIAC, at the University of Pennsylvania. He also worked with John von
Newman on scientific papers at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and
went on to write one of the most complete computer history books.
Hewlett, William R. (1913- )
Michigan born engineer who, in 1939 along with David Packard created
Hoff, Marcian Edward Jr. (Ted) (1937- )
Intel engineer who created a general purpose, programmable logic
chip called the 4004. Hoff was aided by Federico Faggin and Stanley Mazor.
Holberton, Betty (1927- )
One of the team of young women at the University of Pennsylvania
who, in 1945 calculated trajectories to help war time artillery gunners
aim their weapons. When the ENIAC was invented, Holberton and five other
women worked on it, becoming the world's first programmers.
Hollerith, Herman (1860-1929)
New York born engineer who developed a way to use punched cards
to tabulate data for the U.S. Census Bureau's 1890 Census.
Hopper, Grace Brewster Murray (1906-1992)
New York born mathematician who has been called the first lady
of software and the first mother teacher of all computer programmers. She
invented the first programming languages in the 1950's, for the MARK I
and UNIVAC I, and also invented the first compilers. She led the creation
of COBOL which is the Common Business Oriented Language along with Charles
Phillips. She was the first woman to get a doctorate in math from YALE,
served as a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Naval Reserves.
Jacquard, Joseph-Marie (1752-1834)
French weaver who built a fully automated loom programmed by punched
cards. (The looms are still in use).
Jobs, Steven Paul (1955- )
California college dropout who, along with Steve Wozniak, co-founded
Apple Corp. After creating the Apple computer in Jobs' parents' garage.
He went on to co-found NeXT Computer.
Kapor, Mitchell (1950- )
New York born software designer who created Lotus 1-2-3 along with
Jonathan Sachs, and founded the Lotus Development Corp. in 1982 in Cambridge,
Andy Kay (MIT '40), who as CEO at Non Linear Systems, invented
and produced the digital voltmeter. Credited by Electronics Design magazine
together with Dr. William Shockley, co-inventor of transistor, for "leading
the electronics industry into the digital revolution." Another of
Andy Kay's creations, KAYPRO, a local company that captured the attention
of the personal computer world. KAYPRO, in 1983, was rated the 5th largest
personal computer manufacturer in the world.
Kay, Alan C.
Mathematician who conceived the basic concepts of high level, object
oriented programming and subsequently designing Small-talk, the first completely
object oriented language, while working at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.
Kemeny, John (1926-1992)
Hungarian native and Dartmouth mathematician who co-developed BASIC
in 1964, along with Thomas Kurtz. Kemeny was physicist Albert Einstein's
Kilby, Jack St.Clair (1923- )
Engineer who grew up in Kansas and who independently invented the
integrated circuit at Texas Instruments in 1945, at the same time as Robert
Noyce at Fairchild Semiconductor. Along with Jerry D. Merryman and James
Van Tassel, Kilby helped invent the first electronic handheld calculator
by adapting the integrated circuit.
King, Augusta Ada (Lady Lovelace) (1815-1852)
She was best known for translating from French to English a report
on a lecture Babbage gave, she added her own lengthy notes to the text,
and has been credited with developing the concepts of "loop" and "subroutine".
Babbage said that she explained the machine much better than he did and
seemed to understand it better.
Gary Kildall wrote PL/M, the first high level programming language
for the Intel microprocessor. Gary Kildall also wrote a simple operating
system in his PL/M language. He calls it CP/M (Control Program/Monitor).
Knuth, Donald Ervin (1938- )
Milwaukee born programmer, author, musician, and professor at Stanford
who as written three volumes of a planned seven volume book series called
"The Art of Programming", which is a summary of basic computer science.
He also developed a scientific typesetting language called Tex and an alphabet
design system called Metafont.
Kurtz, Thomas (1928- )
Illinois born mathematician who co-developed BASIC in 1964, along
with John Kemeny.
Lake, Clair D. (1888-1958)
IBM engineer credited by Howard Aiken as one of the co-inventors
of the Harvard-IBM MARK I finished in 1944.
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm (1646-1716)
German who invented the first machine that could easily add, subtract,
multiply and divide. He was also an advocate of the binary system.
Licklider, J.C.R. (1915-1990)
He headed the Information Processing Technology Office at the U.S.
Advance Research Projects Agency in the 1960's. While at his post, he established
funding priorities for computer science research, which eventually led
to the development of the Internet and the networking of computers.
Markkula, A.C. "Mike"
Former Intel executive who invested in Apple early on, essentially
becoming a third partner to Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.
Mauchly, John William (1907-1980)
Ohio born physicist who worked with J. Presper Eckert and a 50
member team to create the first electronic large scale, general purpose
calculator, known as the ENIAC.
McCarthy, John (1927- )
Boston born mathematician who is considered to be one of the fathers
of artificial intelligence for coining the term and for his work in helping
computers reason more like human. He also created the programming language
LSP in 1958.
Metcalfe, Robert (1946- )
New York native who led the creation of Ethernet, which linked
the mini computers found at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre in 1973.
Jay Miner, was responsible for the development of the "Amiga",
along with RJ Mical, Dave Morse and Carl Sassenrath.
Moore, Gordon (1929- )
California born who helped Robert Noyce develop the semi-conductor
chip at Fairchild Semi-conductor in 1958. At the same time that Jack Kilby
was inventing one at Texas Instruments. Later Noyce and Moore co-founded
Intel Corporation. In 1965 he predicted that the capacity of a computer
chip would double every year. (Moore's law).
Napier, John (1550-1617)
Scottish theologian and mathematician who discovered logarithms
at the same time as the Swedish mathematician Jobst Burgi.
Nelson, Ted (1937- )
Person who coined the term "hypertext" in 1965. He also proposed
Xanadu, which would put the world's literary collection online and deal
with copyright and accounting problems.
Norris, William (1911- )
Nebraska engineer who founded the Control Data Corp. He gave Seymour
Cray free rein to develop a supercomputer line that included the 6600.
Noyce, Robert N. (1927-1990)
Iowa electrical engineer who invented the integrated circuit in
1958 at Fairchild Semi-conductor with the help of Gordon Moore, at the
same time Jack Kilby was inventing it at Texas Instruments. He went on
to co-found Intel Corp. in 1968, with Moore.
Oliver, Bernard (1916-1995)
Founder of Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in the early 1950's
who directed its research for approximately 30 years.
Olsen, Kenneth Harry (1926- )
Connecticut born electrical engineer who built a computer to test
magnetic memory and helped build Whirlwind. He also co-founded Digital
Equipment Corp. with Harlan Anderson.
Osborne, Adam (1939- )
Introduced the first commercially successful "portable" computer
in 1981, the Osborne 1.
Packard, David (1912-1996)
Colorado born electrical engineer who, along with William Hewlett,
created Hewlett-Packard. They set up shop in a one car garage in Palo Alto,
Calif., and Silicon Valley was born. They got their first of several patents
when they created a resistor-capacitance audio oscillator, which Disney
purchased to make the sound track for the film "Fantasia".
Pascal, Blaise (1623-1662)
French mathematician who at the age of 19 invented a machine that
could add and subtract with the turn of wheels and also carry between digits.
Later in life, Pascal became religious and philosophical and abandoned
math and science.
Ritchie, Dennis M. (1941- )
New York born computer scientist who deserves much of the credit
along with Ken Thompson for the development in 1973 of UNIX. Ritchie also
developed the C programming language.
Roberts, H. Edward
American Air Force officer who, along with three friends, founded
the Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), which thrived when
in 1971 it began producing the large scale integrated calculator kit in
the U.S. The company soon introduced the Altair, an affordable computer
kit that uncovered a huge market for microcomputers. Roberts, is now a
small town medical doctor.
Roberts, Larry (1927- )
Considered to be the father of the ARPA-Net.
Sammet, Jean E. (1928- )
New York born leading expert on the history of programming languages.
She developed FORMAC, the first widely used language for manipulating symbolic
mathematical expressions, while at IBM. She was the first female president
of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).
Scheutz, Georg (1785-1873)
and Edvard Raphael (1821-1881)
Father and son team of Swedish engineers who, in 1853, constructed
an operational Difference Engine that was modeled after Charles Babbage's
plans. Demonstrating that the machine could be constructed with the technology
of the day.
Schikard, Wilhelm (1592-1635)
German astronomer, linguist, mathematician, and minister who in
1623 created the first workable adding machine which incorporated John
Schreyer, Helmut (1912-1984)
German engineer who, as a graduate student helped Konrad Zuse design
and build his mechanical and electromechanical computers. He is also credited
with the idea of using vacuum and neon tubes instead of electromechanical
Shannon, Claude Elwood (1916- )
Michigan born mathematician who wrote several influential papers,
including one in 1937 that set the stage for digital computers and another
in 1948 that founded information theory. He also wrote a paper that described
the stored program computer, which led to the development of John von Newmann's
digital, all purpose electronic calculating device. The International Standard
Organization (ISO) named the "shannon", a unit of measurement for information
content, after him. Shannon also has been recognized as the first person
to use the word "bit".
Shockley, William Bradford (1910-1989)
British co-inventor of the transistor, and a member of the AT&T
Bell Telephone Laboratories team with John Bardeen and Walter Brattain.
The three shared a nobel prize in physics in 1956.
British inventor, who brought the price of computers below $100.00
Stibitz, George Robert (1904-1995)
American mathematician at AT&T Bell Laboratories who invented
several computers the first of which used Boolean logic to add, subtract,
multiply, and divide complex numbers. This Complex Number calculator, completed
in 1939, provided the foundation for digital computers and was also the
first machine to be used from a remote location.
Stroustrup, Bjarne (1950- )
A Dane who invented the C++ programming language. He also wrote
two books about the language.
Teal, Gordon K. (1907- )
Texas born Texas Instruments physicist who, in 1954, perfected
a way of making transistors out of silicone, one of the most common elements,
instead of using germanium, which cost more than gold.
Auschwitz survivor who founded Commodore International, which released
the Pet (Personal Electronic Transactor) in 1978 and began the micro computer
race with Tandy Radio Shack and Apple Computer. Tramiel, later sold the
Texas based company to buy Atari from Warmer Communications.
Turing, Alan Mathison (1912-1954)
English mathematician who was crucial in the work at Bletchley
Park designing the Colossus, which deciphered German code during WWII and
is considered to be the first electronic computer. He later invented the
Turing Test, in which he proposed that if a computer could pass his test,
it had proven that it could think. (So far no computer has passed). In
1952 he was convicted for "unnatural" acts and forced to take female hormones
because he was an homosexual. He died two years later, after knowingly
eating an apple dipped in strychnine.
Wang, An (1920-1990)
Chinese physicist and engineer who invented and patented magnetic
core storage while working at Harvard University for Howard Aiken. IBM
bought the storage method for a ridiculously low price considering that
magnetic string memories ended up making stored program computers commercially
practical. Want later founded his own company in Boston, Wang Laboratories
Inc. The company created the first desktop computer and also developed
word processing in which text editing could be done on screen.
Warnock, John E.
He invented Post-Script PDL (Page Description Language) a major
factor leading to the desktop publishing revolution. He and Charles Geschke
were the founders of Adobe Systems in 1982.
Watson, Thomas J. (1874-1956)
New York born president of the International Business Machines
(IBM) Corp. who built up the company during WWII and also invested in Howard
Aiken's plan to build the Harvard MARK I calculator.
Watson, Thomas J. Jr. (1914-1993)
He took over his father's position as president of IBM in 1952,
convinced that the company should build and market computers. He eventually
led the company to having total domination of the computer market.
Wilkes, Maurice Vincent (1913- )
English mathematician who designed and constructed the EDSAC (Electronic
Delay Storage Automatic Calculator), which was a stored memory computer
made up of 16 steel tubes and 3,000 vacuum tubes that could be programmed
in English and perform addition in 1.4 milliseconds. He later constructed
the EDSAC 2, which is the first computer to have a micro programmed control
Williams, Frederic Galland (1911-1977)
English engineer who, with the help of Tom Kilburn, developed cathode-ray
tube (CRT) storage for the SEEM (small scale electronic machine), which
first ran in 1948, at Manchester University. CRT's were the first high
speed random access memory (RAM), which allowed computer to go directly
to specific stored information.
Williams, Samuel B.
American engineer for AT&T Bell Telephone Laboratories who,
in 1939, oversaw the production of George Stibitz's powerful calculating
Wirth, Niklaus (1934- )
Swedish born who, created Oberon an object oriented programming
language and operating system that used 1.5 megabytes of RAM. He also created
Modula-2 and Pascal.
Wozniak, Steven Gary "The Woz" (1950- )
Electrical engineer from California who co-founded Apple Computer
in cooperation with Steve Jobs after creating the Apple computer in Jobs'
parents' garage. Wozniak is considered the "father" of the Apple, and Jobs
was the ambitious force. The pair founded Apple Computer Inc. in 1976 and
created the phenomenally successful Apple II computer, which moved the
computer industry into the big time and changed Apple from a garage company
to a multimillion dollar one. In 1985, he left Apple for his own company.
CL-9 (Cloud 9), which designed remote control products. He now devotes
his time to helping young people learn about computers. He also helped
Mitch Kapor found the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is a nonprofit
civil liberties group dedicated to understanding the social impact of the
digital revolution and protecting online freedom.
Yamachita, Hideo (1899-1993)
Japanese engineer considered the father of Japan's computer industry.
He led the team in 1950 that created Japan's first large electronic computer,
the Tokyo Automatic Calculator (TAC), with vacuum tubes.
Zuse, Konrad (1910-1995)
German engineer who in 1938 created the Z1, one of the first binary
digital computers, which was destroyed during World War II. Zuse also developed
the successors Z2, Z3, and Z4 the last of which was the only one to survive
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