Computer Heros

Some heros in the world of computer science.

Founding Fathers (pre 1960)

George Boole (1815 - 1864)

Boolean algegra. Papers The Mathematical Analysis of Logic (1847), and An Investigation of the Laws of Thought (1854).

Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege (1848 - 1925)

Analytic philosophy. Developed modern logic in the Begriffsschrift and work in the foundations of mathematics. Books The Foundations of Arithmetic, On Sense and Reference and The Thought.

Alan Turing (1912 - 1954)

The father of theoretical computer science. Formalised the concepts of algorithm and computation through the notion of a Universal Machine (i.e Turing Machine) in his seminal paper On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem.

John von Neumann (1903 - 1957)

Implementer of the “Turing Machine”.

Mauris Wilks

EDSAC, the first practical implementation of von-neumann architecture.

Golden Age (1960-90)

Tony Hoare (1934)

Hoare logic (for verifying correctness), formalised the interaction of concurrent processes with communicating sequential processes (CSP), and invented the quicksort algorithm.

John McCarthy

Creator of LISP. First dynamic language.

Ken Thompson

Unix. The B programming language. The Go programming language. Co-creator of the Plan 9 operating system. Regular expressions, UTF-8 encoding, and text editors QED and ed.

Dennis Ritchie (1941-2011)

The C programming language and Unix. Commonly known by his username dmr.

Douglas McIlroy (1932)

Unix pipes, and software componentization.

Bill Joy

BSD and vi. Paper Why The Future Doesn’t Need Us.

Joe Armstrong

Erlang. Fault tolerant distributed systems.

Alan Kay

OO. SmallTalk. Squeak.

Larry Wall


Richard Stallman


Linus Torvalds

The Linux kernel and Git.

David Cutler

VMS and Windows NT kernel.

Rob Pike

golang, SysV, X Windows.

Rich Hickey


Internet Age (1990 - 2000)

Robert Griesemer


Bryan Cantrill