The ICTI list of influential computer scientists

| Sieuwert van Otterloo | Artificial Intelligence

Computer, science, AI and privacy-law are often described as new fields of research. This maybe was the case in 1990, but as of now these fields are old: The solutions to most current problems in society are already invented years ago, but not well-remembered. To help ourselves and other people remember all the work, we created our ‘Hall of Fame’: a series of photos of famous researchers and inventors. Our wall in our office shows the portrait images, and the challenge is to link each image to the correct person.

People included in the wall of fame

The following people are currently included in the list.

  1. Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL
  2. Alan Mathison Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher and theoretical biologist. Het was highly influential in inventing the Turing test for AI and in ending the Second World War through his work in codebreaking.
  3. Ruth Lichterman and Marlyn Wescoff who programmed the ENIAC, one of the first computers. The programmers of the ENIAC computer in 1944, were six female mathematicians. Many early programmers were women but their contributions are not as well document as they should have been since the hardware people building the first computers did not realize the importance of software.
  4. Douglas Carl Engelbart (January 30, 1925 – July 2, 2013) was an American engineer and inventor, and an early computer and Internet pioneer. He is best known for his work on founding the field of human–computer interaction.
  5. Marvin Lee Minsky (August 9, 1927 – January 24, 2016) was an American cognitive scientist concerned largely with research of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AI laboratory, and author of several texts concerning AI and philosophy.
  6. Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (11 May 1930 – 6 August 2002) was a Dutch computer scientist and an early pioneer in computer science. One of his most famous publications is “Go To statement considered harmful” in whcih he argued that the Go To statement should be aboloshed since it makes programs harder to read.
  7. Margaret Heafield Hamilton (born on August 17, 1936) is an American computer scientist, systems engineer. She is best known for her work for the Apollo Moon missions.
  8. Lynn Ann Conway (born January 2, 1938) is an American computer scientist, electrical engineer, inventor, and transgender activist.
  9. Wendy Carlos, born in 1939, is a musician famous for playing Bach’s music on electronic instruments, most notably the Moog synthesizer. She was a pioneer who shifted boundaries and changed the way people think about classical music.
  10. Leslie B. Lamport (born February 7, 1941 in Brooklyn) is an American computer scientist and mathematician. Lamport is best known as the initial developer of the document preparation system LaTeX, the language used for writing scientific papers.
  11. Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie (September 9, 1941 – c. October 12, 2011) was an American computer scientist. He is most well-known for creating the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system and B programming language.
  12. Sudha Murty (born 19 August 1951) is an Indian educator, author and philanthropist who is chairperson of the Infosys Foundation.
  13. Shigeru Miyamoto (born November 16, 1952) is a Japanese video game designer, producer and game director at Nintendo.
  14. Richard Matthew Stallman (born March 16, 1953), often known by his initials, rms, is an American software freedom activist and programmer, who invented the term free software and started the development of GNU Linux.
  15. Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American entrepreneur, business magnate, inventor, and industrial designer. He was the co-founder of Apple Inc and CEO and majority shareholder of Pixar and the founder of NeXT. Jobs and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are widely recognized as pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.
  16. Timothy John Berners-Lee (born 8 June 1955) is an English engineer and computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web.
  17. Guido van Rossum (born 31 January 1956) is a Dutch programmer best known as the author of the Python programming language in 1989.
  18. Aaron Hillel Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013) was an American computer programmer and Internet hacktivist. He was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS and the Markdown publishing format, the organization Creative Commons and was a co-founder of the social news site Reddit. He was prosecuted for downloading academic articles.
  19. Maximilian Schrems (born 1987) is an Austrian activist, lawyer, and author who became known for campaigns against privacy violations.

Diversity in computer science

Our list is not as diverse as we want to to be. For instance, most people in the list are English speaking people. The reasons for our lack of diversity are complex: One reason is that many authors only read English, and cannot directly read resources in other languages. Another one is that doing computer science research requires access to resources and opportunities, and not everyone has such access. We hope that other people can help augment our list: if you know other people who made a significant contribution to computer science research or the use of technology in society, you can send your suggestions to Sieuwert van Otterloo. You can also send in research topics that you think should get more recognition. We will use these suggestions for instance for choosing future thesis research topics, for special issues of the ‘Computers and Society Research Journal‘ and for our ongoing research into programming languages.

Image and text source:  We have used Wikimedia commons to find portrait images and have used Wikipedia for the descrptions of people’s life. 

Author: Sieuwert van Otterloo
Dr. Sieuwert van Otterloo is a court-certified IT expert with interests in agile, security, software research and IT-contracts.