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Famous programmers and developers: cooler than rock stars and movie actors

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The article describes:

  • The most famous programmers and developers of our time
  • The best programmers and developers at the origins

What makes programmers and developers famous is neither their good looks, nor their multimillion-dollar accounts on social networks. They become famous because of their contribution to the development of programming, which is, without exaggeration, the most important applied science of today.

Such names as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Alan Turing are familiar even to those who are in no way connected with the field of programming. And all because we use the products of their mental activity every day and we could hardly live without them with the same level of comfort. The most famous programmers and developers of our time and historical context are listed below in this article.

The most famous programmers and developers of our time

Programming has accelerated the progress of humanity like nothing else. Just a few centuries ago machines and other equipment were controlled manually, but today, thanks to computers, there has been the automation of many processes.

Programmers have opened the door to space, created supercomputers and AI, enabled humanity to communicate with each other literally at different ends of the Earth, and made travel faster and easier. And this is just a small list of changes. Let's meet some of today's most famous programmers and developers.

Линус Торвальдс

Linus Torvalds

A coder who was born in Finland. His second citizenship is American. He is the creator of the famous Linux operating system, without the existence of which it is unthinkable that many computers and databases around the world work.

Linus Torvalds is one of the very few developers who distribute their software for free and even more his OS is open source. Such an approach is quite different from the commercial spirit that pervades the software industry. There are thousands of coders working for Linus today.

Torvalds is not a simple man, he doesn't want to please everyone, he often cuts corners. And his quirks and oddities are legendary. For example, those who work with him tell us that Linus can divide by zero, or, while reading the source code, can play 3D games in his brain.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin

These are the founders of one of the largest search engines, Google. Larry and Sergey met back in their student days, in 1995, when they were both graduating from Stanford's computer science department. At that time they decided to develop the Backrub PS.

Larry and Sergey's first project brought them some fame and even made it into the book "Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertext Search Engine". In 1996, the two programmers created Google. Their successful actions to develop the firm led to the fact that Google has grown to global proportions, and the value of the company became estimated at 1 trillion dollars. Such a colossal success is not only worthy of respect, but can also inspire aspiring entrepreneurs.

Билл Гейтс

Bill Gates

This man does not need any introduction, probably every second inhabitant of our planet knows about him. But it's impossible in this article not to mention the richest coder whose programs are world famous.

In the very beginning of Microsoft's development, Bill checked literally every line of code he sent. Often he made adjustments and corrections. Gates' first achievement can be considered the joint creation with Paul Allen of a BASIC language interpreter.

The unique feature of the project was that the two geniuses did not even have access to the computer they were writing the program for, and the "machine" had only 4 KB of memory. The PDP-10 was used as assembler and the Intel 8080 emulator was used to run it.

Bill Gates is a distinguished member of the British Computer Society. His awards include the Bauer Prize for Business Leadership and the National Medal for Technology and Innovation.

Brian Kernighan

A renowned scientist who once worked at Bell Labs. His career began as a software editor for Prentice Hall International.

Brian Kernighan co-developed the Unix operating system with Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie. But the scientist not only designed the OS, but also wrote programs for it, including ditroff and cron for Version 7. Kernighan is also the co-author of AMPL and AWK. The scientist also proposed several solutions to problems which are NP-complete: TSP (the traveling salesman's problem) and graph partitioning.

The famous phrase: "What you see is what you get" (WYSIWYG), also belongs to Brian. This principle even became the basis for the creation of some text editors.
Separately, it is worth mentioning the many awards the scientist received as a teacher and the INFORMS Computing Society award he received in 1993.

Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson is a developer known not only in the computer community, but also among hackers. His greatest popularity is due to his collaboration with Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie in the creation and development of the Unix operating system.

Among Thompson's other great achievements: the invention of UTF-8 encoding, the B programming language (forerunner of C) and Go (while working with Google). Ken also co-developed the Plan 9 operating system, made regular expressions famous and created finite game tables.

Thompson has many awards to his credit: the Japan Prize, the Turing Prize, the EEE Emanuel R. P. Prize. Emanuel R. Piore, and computer pioneers. He has also been awarded the National Medal of Technology.

Guido van Rossum

A programmer originally from the Netherlands, creator of the object-oriented language Python. Guido van Rossum graduated from the University of Amsterdam with a master's degree in mathematics and computer science. He also contributed to the development of the ABC language. Guido admits that he created Python in 1989 when he was looking for something to do over the weekend.

James Gosling

He created the Java OOP and participated in the development of Google's COP, in particular its algorithms. James Gosling also created NEWS, a technology of distributed computing. Thanks to it, if you combine several computers in one network, it is possible to solve particularly complex problems.

James' projects include the Emacs text editor and a program capable of deciphering telemetry data from a satellite. Gosling is now developing systems for underwater research.

Anders Heilsberg

Anders Heilsberg has sped up the creation of programs written in Pascal, thanks to the development of a special compiler that has greatly increased not only the speed but also the efficiency of the IT industry. Heilsberg directed the creation of the now-famous Borland Delphi software, which became a well-known coding language. Today Anders works as one of the developers at Microsoft.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

He is the only coder who has received the title of Knight. The main work of the programmer is the development of the HTTP protocol, which served as the foundation for the work of the Internet.

Сэр Тим Бернерс-Ли

Tim Berners-Lee is the director of the Alliance for an Affordable Internet, a civic organization that advocates for fast and stable Internet for all. The Alliance is backed by mega-corporations such as Microsoft and Google.

Dennis Ritchie

This developer is a revolutionary in his field, as he contributed to the transition from the "B" language to "C", participated in the creation of the Unix OS. Dennis Ritchie, although he could not formally obtain his doctorate, did his dissertation on "Program Structure and Computational Complexity." One of the places he worked was at Lucent Technologies & Bell Labs.

Most computers today run in the "C" programming language, with Xbox and PS4 consoles among those machines. In addition to him and the Unix OS, Ritchie developed the early Multics operating system, the B procedural language, BCPL, and created ALTRAN.

Among the awards Ritchie has received: computer pioneers Turing, Harold Pender. He has also been awarded the Museum of Computer History Fellowship and the Hamming Medal from the IEEE.

Bjorn Straustrup

This scientist first became a master of computer science at Aarhus University and then successfully completed his thesis at Cambridge. He now works at Morgan Stanley. Bjorn was the head of research for Bell Labs' large-scale programs.

At first Straustrup was a co-author in creating the C language, but later, in 1978, he began to develop his own - C++, i.e., augmented with classes. The programmer wrote both the definition and the basic tools for working with C++, and made the first successful run of the software. After that, Straustrup wrote a tutorial for his programming language.

Bjorn was awarded prizes: Grace Murray Hopper, William Procter for scientific achievement. In addition, the programmer was made a research associate of the Museum of Computer History after the creation of C++.

The best programmers and developers at the origins

Alan Matheson Turing

This mathematician, cryptographer, logician, and scientist is the ancestor of the modern computer. He laid the foundation for the creation of AI, and became the father of theoretical computer science.

During World War II, Turing's genius served the British intelligence service. Thus, in 1940, the mathematician and his team managed to crack the code of the German cipher machine Enigma, considered "invincible. Alan invented concepts and principles that served as the foundation for the modern computer. His machine could be used to simulate the logic of any algorithm.

Alan was awarded the Smith Prize by the Royal Society and an Officer of the Order of Great Britain. Since 1966, the Turing Award has been given every year to outstanding programmers for their contributions to the development of computing.

Margaret Heafield Hamilton

She was born on August 17, 1936. Margaret's entire life has been closely intertwined with mathematics and computer science. It was Hamilton who wrote the computer programs for the lunar modules used in the Apollo mission.

At a young age, Margaret moved to Boston to study abstract mathematics at Brandeis University. She was later invited to work at MIT in the United States, where she was asked to develop software for forecasters. There Hamilton also completed her graduate studies in meteorology.

In the 1960s, Margaret worked with the U.S. Department of Defense: she created a program for air defense that made it easier to identify enemy aircraft. During the NASA Apollo mission, Hamilton led the department developing software for the lunar modules. It was because of her insight that the American astronauts were able to land on the moon, because Margaret had foreseen in advance what failure might occur in the system and spelled out the code that solved the problem.

Ada Lovelace

She was born on December 10, 1815. There were no computers in those days, but Charles Babbage's analytical calculating machine existed instead. It was her principles and algorithms that Ada Lovelace managed to describe. During her lifetime her name was put on a par with such famous people as Charles Dickens, Charles Babbage, Sir David Brewster and others.

Ada managed to meet the famous British mathematician when she was a teenager. Babbage presented her with a design for a calculating machine. Lovelace, understanding her algorithms, wrote the world's first program for this prototype computer.

Ada's program made the mechanical machine calculate Bernoulli numbers. From this point on, Lovelace made a number of theoretical discoveries that were not confirmed in practice until decades after her death. For example, Ada argued that the information contained in numbers made it possible to create images, compose music, and more. Time has confirmed her correctness.

Donald Knuth

He is Professor Emeritus at Stanford University, and his textbook, The Art of Programming, is still being thanked by developers around the world.

Donald Knuth's work describes the whole world of programming, from its basics in the form of data structures to the analysis of algorithms, which, incidentally, the scientist himself invented. The book contains not only theory. It has a lot of practice in the Assembler language.

Donald Knuth is grateful to programmers in such huge companies as Google and many others for his textbook. And there is a phrase attributed to Bill Gates (another version is Steve Jobs), that if someone considers himself a developer, he should read Professor Stanford's books, and if someone can finish the entire textbook, he can safely send a resume to one of the mega-corporations.

Donald Knuth considers The Art of Programming to be his life's work, and the writing period is long: the work began back in 1962. Today four volumes have been published, but the professor says that a fifth is planned. In addition to the book, Donald developed the METAFONT language to work with vector fonts and created TeX.

John McCarthy

American computer scientist, scientist, father of the term "artificial intelligence.

McCarthy's accomplishments include the creation of the Lisp system programming language, the popularization of time-sharing technology in computers for more rational use of their resources, and the development of a design for ALGOL. The scientist created a garbage collection for efficient memory management for devices running AI applications in Lisp.

McCarthy has many awards to his credit: Kyoto, Turing, Computer Pioneers, and IJCAI. He has also been awarded the National Medal of Science.

Thomas Kurtz

Computer scientist, scientist, professor at Dartmouth University (not now teaching). He made the theory of time division in computers a reality.

Kurtz created the high-level BASIC programming language, which made life much "easier" for ordinary users, allowing them, without being experts, to create simple software on their own. Together with John Kemeney, Thomas developed True BASIC and founded a company with the same name to promote the language. The project was successful and became widespread for creating software on microcomputers.

Kurtz's awards include the IEEE Computer Science Pioneer Award and the AFIPS Pioneer Award.

John George Kemeney

Computer scientist, scientist, mathematician. George Kemeney is known for co-developing Basics with Thomas Kurtz.

He was one of the first to adapt the computer to the needs of ordinary people. The abbreviation of the name BASIC stands for "universal symbolic code for beginners". This language was developed in 1964 after a series of experiments with the LGP-30. Kemeney also created one of the first DTSS (according to Dartmouth) time division systems.

In 1985 the programmer was awarded the Computer Pioneers Award.

Grace Hopper

One of the first female Harvard Mark I computer programmers, computer scientist, and Rear Admiral of the U.S. Navy.

Грейс Хоппер

Grace Hopper is considered the inventor of the first compiler for a programming language, and she was instrumental in the development of COBOL.

Grace Hopper is a Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society and an Honorary Doctor of Science at Marquette University. She was also awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1991.

John Backus

Creator of FORTRAN, computer scientist, M.S. in mathematics from Columbia University (obtained in 1950).

The term "functional programming language" gained popularity thanks to Backus. He led the team that created FORTRAN, the first high-level programming language. Backus also developed the Backus-Naur form, or BNF.

The scientist has many awards, such as the Turing, W.W. McDowell, Draper. In addition, Backus is awarded the National Medal of Science and has been named an IBM Fellow.

All of the developers and programmers mentioned in this article were pioneers in the computer world. They laid the foundation for many fundamental ideas. They all had limited resources, little opportunity, but that did not stop them. But everything is available to us, we just have to take it and do it, because you never know which idea can lead to worldwide success.