Nominees

  • Norman Abramson — Founder of AlohaNet (1971)
  • Gene Amdahl — Wrote the first-known computer operating system, for the IBM 704 (1954)
  • Harlan Anderson — Co-founder (with Ken Olsen) of Digital Electronics Corporation (1957)
  • E.G. Andrews — Early mainframe computer designer, innovator of using binary code at Bell Labs (1940)
  • Bill Atkinson — Programmer who developed “Hypercard” (1987), “MacPaint,” and much of the early Apple Mac Quickdraw screen display program
  • John Backus — Developed the FORTRAN programming language (1956)
  • Paul Baran — Co-inventor (with Donald Davies) of packet-switching technology (1960)
  • John Bardeen — Co-inventor (with Walter Brattain) of the transistor (1947)
  • John Perry Barlow — Co-founder (with John Gilmore and Mitch Kapor) of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a society focused on protecting civil liberties online (1990)
  • Andy Bechtolsheim — Co-founder (with Bill Joy, Vinod Khosla and Scott McNealy) of Sun Microsystems (1982)
  • Gordon Bell — Developer of DEC’s PDP minicomputers (1960)
  • Julian Bigelow — Developer of the IAS computer, with the first use of cybernetics (1946)
  • John Blankenbaker — Developed the KenBak-I computer, one of the earliest computers designed for personal use (1973)
  • David Boggs — Co-inventor (with Bob Metcalfe) of Ethernet networking (1973)
  • Len Bosack — Co-founder (with Sandy Lerner) of Cisco Systems, a leading manufacturer of Internet switching equipment (1984); developed IGSP, Inter-Gateway Switching Protocol, for the Internet
  • Stewart Brand — Co-founder (with Larry Brilliant) of The WELL online service (1985)
  • Walter Brattain — Co-inventor (with John Bardeen) of the transistor (1947)
  • Dan Bricklin — Co-developer (with Bob Frankston) of “VisiCalc,” the first widely available spreadsheet program (1979)
  • Larry Brilliant — Co-founder (with Stewart Brand) of The WELL online service (1985)
  • Tony Brooker — Author of Mark 1 Autocode, one of the early programming languages (1954)
  • Fred Brooks — Led development of the IBM 360 system
  • Rod Canion — Co-founder (with James M. Harris and William Murto) of Compaq Computer (1982)
  • Chester Carlson — Developer of xerography (1946)
  • Doug Carlston — Founder of Brøderbund Software (1980)
  • Giovanni Caselli — Inventor of the pantelegraph, precursor to the facsimile or fax (1861)
  • Ward Christensen — Co-founder (with Randy Suess) of the CBBS bulletin board, the first dial-up bulletin board system, or BBS (1978)
  • James Clark — Founder of Silicon Graphics Inc. (1981); co-founder (with Marc Andreesson) of Netscape Communications (1994)
  • John Cocke — Pioneering engineer who developed the concept of Reduced Instruction Set Computer, or RISC, architecture (circa 1980)
  • Fernando J. Corbató — Helped develop the concept of and technology for time-sharing computer systems (1961)
  • David Crane — Early video game designer (“Pitfall!”); co-founded (with Larry Kaplan, Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead) Activision, an early video game publisher (1979)
  • Ole-Johan Dahl — Co-developed (with Kristen Nygaard) Simula, the first object-oriented programming language (1961)
  • Donald Davies — Co-inventor (with Paul Baran) of packet-switching technology (1960)
  • Lee De Forest — Developed the triode vacuum tube, the first amplifier (1906)
  • Robert Dennard — Invented dynamic RAM, or DRAM (1966)
  • Joe Desch — Led secret WWII codebreaking operation at NCR (1943); co-inventor (with Bob Mumma) of the first electronic calculator (1946); co-developer (with Mumma) of the NCR 304, the first all solid-state computer (1959)
  • Albert Dick — Led team that developed the mimeograph (1887); founded A.B. Dick Company
  • Whitfield Diffie — Co-developed (with Martin Hellman and Ralph Merkle) public key cryptography (1975)
  • Edsger Dijkstra — Early theorist about compilers, programming
  • Larry Ellison — Founder of Oracle, a database company (1977)
  • David C. Evans — Co-developed (with Harry Huskey) Project Genie, an early time-sharing computer system (1963); developed pioneering graphics systems with Ivan Sutherland
  • Wally Feurzeig — Co-developed (with Seymour Papert and Cynthia Solomon) the Logo programming language (1967)
  • David Filo — Co-founder (with Jerry Yang) of Yahoo! (1994)
  • John Ambrose Fleming — Invented the thermionic vacuum tube, a two-electric diode (1904)
  • Thomas Flowers — Led team that designed Colossus, the world’s first programmable electronic computer during World War II (1943)
  • Jay W. Forrester — Refined magnetic core memory (1952); creator of systems dynamics (1956)
  • Bob Frankston — Co-developer (with Dan Bricklin) of “VisiCalc,” the first widely available spreadsheet program (1979)
  • Gordon French — Hosted the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in his garage in Menlo Park, Calif. (1975)
  • Charles Geschke — Co-developed (with John Warnock) InterPress, a printing control language (1982); left Xerox PARC and co-founded (with Warnock) Adobe Systems Inc. (1982); co-developed (with Warnock) PostScript, a printing control language functionally similar to InterPress, but coded from the ground up (1985)
  • William Gibson — Pioneering fiction writer who explored the intersections of society and technology; coined the phrase “cyberspace” in the novel “Neuromancer” (1984)
  • Stanley Gill — Co-developed (with Maurice Wilkes and David Wheeler) the concept of a software subroutine, while working on the EDSAC computer (1955)
  • John Gilmore — Co-authored (with Bill Croft) the Bootstrap Protocol, which evolved in to the DHCP protocol for assigning IP addresses locally (1985); co-founded (with John Perry Barlow and Mitch Kapor) the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a society focused on protecting civil liberties online (1990);
  • Mike Godwin — Early theorist about online legal issues; longtime counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • Howard Goldberg — Co-founder (with Dave Panzl) of PlayNET, an online game network for Commodore 64 computers that later became the commercial dial-up service America Online (1983)
  • James Gosling — Wrote the Java programming language (1995)
  • George Bernard Grant — Engineer who made many important improvements in early mechanical calculators (1873-1876)
  • Andy Grove — Co-founder (with Gordon Moore and Robert Noyce) of Intel (1968)
  • Robert N. Hall — Developed the first laser-emitting diode (1962)
  • Richard Hamming — Developed the Hamming Code, a form of error-correction used in software (1947)
  • James M. Harris — Co-founder (with Rod Canion and William Murto) of Compaq Computer (1982)
  • Trip Hawkins — Founded Electronic Arts, early and influential video game publisher (1982)
  • Martin Hellman — Co-developed (with Whitfield Diffie and Ralph Merkle) public key cryptography (1975)
  • Johan Helsingius — Started first anonymous e-mail service (1993)
  • Bill Hewlett — Co-founder (with David Packard) of Hewlett-Packard (1939)
  • George A. Hockham — Co-developed (with Charles Kao) fiber optic technology for transmitting data at high speed (1965)
  • Joseph Jacquard — Developed the punch-card system to store patterns for his looms (1805); led to early computer storage systems
  • Eugene Jarvis — Wrote “Defender,” “Robotron,” “Stargate” and other groundbreaking videogames.
  • Reynold B. Johnson — Invented the electronic test-scoring machine that converted pencil marks to punch cards (1936), lead development on the RAMAC hard drive (1956), developed the Sony videocassette tape (1969) and the microphonograph used by Fisher-Price for the Talk to Me books (1978)
  • Bill Joy — Co-founder (with Andy Bechtolsheim, Vinod Khosla and Scott McNealy) of Sun Microsystems (1982)
  • Philippe Kahn — Founded Borland Software, an early publisher of low-cost programming languages (1982); founded Starfish Software, the first over-the-air synchronization service (1995)
  • Charles Kao — Co-developed (with George A. Hockham) fiber optic technology for transmitting data at high speed (1965)
  • Larry Kaplan — Early video game designer for the Atari 2600; co-founded (with David Crane, Alan Miller and Bob Whitehead) Activision, an early video game publisher (1979); designed “Kaboom!” (1981)
  • Alan Kay — Developed the Dynabook concept, progenitor of the modern laptop computer (1968); worked on Xerox PARC team that developed Smalltalk, an early object-oriented programming language (1972); helped develop windowing graphical user interface at PARC (1972)
  • Bob Kahn — Co-developed (with Vint Cerf) TCP/IP standard (1974)
  • Mitch Kapor — Co-founded (with Jonathan Sachs) Lotus Software, publisher of the “Lotus 1-2-3” spreadsheet (1982); co-founded (with John Perry Barlow and John Gilmore) the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a society focused on protecting civil liberties online (1990)
  • John Kemeny — Co-developed (with Thomas Kurtz) the BASIC programming language (1964); introduced time-sharing system at Dartmouth University to allow all students to have access to computers (1963)
  • Charles F. Kettering — Developed the first electro-mechanical cash register (1906)
  • Vinod Khosla — Co-founder (with Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy and Scott McNealy) of Sun Microsystems (1982)
  • Tom Kilburn — Helped design (with Frederic Williams) the Manchester Baby, the first stored-memory electronic computer (1948), including the use of the Williams-Kilburn Tube
  • John Kilcullen — Founder, publisher of IDG Books (1989)
  • Len Kleinrock — Developed early theory of packet networking in 1961 at MIT, which later led to the Internet
  • Donald Knuth — Author of “The Art of Computer Programming,” one of the first books to explore a theory of computing (1968)
  • Thomas Kurtz — Co-developed (with John Kemeny) the BASIC programming language (1964); introduced time-sharing system at Dartmouth University to allow all students to have access to computers (1963)
  • Butler Lampson — Led team that developed Xerox Alto, the first computer with a graphical user interface (1973)
  • Simon Lavington — One of the first academics to make computer history the subject of his study
  • Gerald Lawson — Led development team at Fairchild Semiconductor that produced the Channel F (1976), the first application of removable ROM cartridges for loading software.
  • S.A. Lebedev — Soviet engineer who led design team that produced the BESM-1, the first Soviet computer (1951)
  • Sandy Lerner — Co-founder (with Len Bosack) of Cisco Systems, a leading manufacturer of Internet switching equipment (1984)
  • Joseph Licklider — First head of computer research at the Defense Department’s ARPA research program (1962), which later developed the Internet; wrote the influential “Man-Computer Symbiosis” (1960)
  • John McCarthy — Developed the programming language Lisp (1958); credited with coining the term “artificial intelligence”
  • Scott McNealy — Co-founder (with Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy and Vinod Khosla) of Sun Microsystems (1982)
  • Ralph Merkle — Co-developed (with Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman) public key cryptography (1975)
  • Bob Metcalfe — Co-inventor (with David Boggs) of Ethernet networking (1973); founder of 3Com (1979), a leading manufacturer of networking equipment
  • Nicholas Metropolis — Led team that designed and built MANIAC I computer at Los Alamas (1952), and MANIAC II (1956); founding director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Computer Research (1957)
  • Alan Miller — Early video game designer for the Atari 2600 (including “Basketball”); co-founded (with David Crane, Larry Kaplan and Bob Whitehead) Activision, an early video game publisher (1979); co-founded (with Whitehead) Accolade, another video game publisher (1984)
  • Halsey Minor — Founder of CNET, broadcast and online news resource about technology (1992)
  • Marvin Minsky — Pioneer in artificial intelligence; designed and built SNARC, the first randomly wired network learning machine (1952); founded the artificial intelligence lab at MIT (1963)
  • Robert Moog — Developed and marketed the first commercial musical synthesizer (1964)
  • Charles H. Moore — Developed the Forth programming language (1968)
  • Gordon Moore — Co-founder (with Julius Blank, Victor Grinich, Jean Hoerni, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, Robert Noyce and Sheldon Roberts) of Fairchild Semiconductor (1957); co-founder (with Andy Grove and Robert Noyce) of Intel (1968); postulated Moore’s Rule (1964), which holds that computing power will double every 18 months with no increase in price
  • Samuel Morland — Developed a series of mechanical adding machines in the mid-1600s
  • Bob Mumma — Co-inventor (with Joe Desch) of the first electronic calculator (1946); co-developer (with Desch) of the NCR 304, the first all solid-state computer (1959)
  • William Murto — Co-founder (with Rod Canion and James M. Harris ) of Compaq Computer (1982)
  • Nicholas Negroponte — Founded MIT’s Architecture Machine Group (1967); co-founded (with Jerome B. Wiesner) MIT’s Media Lab (1985); wrote best-selling non-fiction book, “Being Digital” (1995)
  • Ted Nelson — Early computer theorist and philosopher; coined the word “hypertext” (1965)
  • Peter Norton — Wrote the popular MS-DOS programs known as “Norton Utilities” (1982); wrote a series of popular how-to computer help books, as well as popular columns in national computer magazines
  • Robert Noyce — Co-inventor (with Jack St. Clair Kilby) of the integrated circuit, or computer chip (1959); co-founder (with Julius Blank, Victor Grinich, Jean Hoerni, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, Gordon Moore and Sheldon Roberts) of Fairchild Semiconductor (1957); co-founder (with Andy Grove and Gordon Moore) of Intel (1968)
  • Kristen Nygaard — Co-developed (with Ole-Johan Dahl) Simula, the first object-oriented programming language (1961)
  • Tim O’Reilly — Founder O’Reilly Media, publisher of many groundbreaking computer and programming guides
  • Willgodt Odhner — Developed the Odhner Arithmometer, a popular portable mechanical calculator (1893)
  • Ken Olsen — Co-founder (with Harlan Anderson) of Digital Electronics Corporation (1957)
  • Adam Osborne — Founder of Osborne & Associates, publishers of early third-party how-to computer guides (1972); founder of Osborne Computers, maker of the first portable computer (1981); prolific and influential writer about computers
  • William Oughtred — Inventor of the slide rule (circa 1620)
  • David Packard — Co-founder (with Bill Hewlett) of Hewlett-Packard (1939)
  • Dave Panzl — Co-founder (with Howard Goldberg) of PlayNET, an online game network for Commodore 64 computers that later became the commercial dial-up service America Online (1983)
  • Seymour Papert — Co-developed (with Wally Feurzeig and Cynthia Solomon) the Logo programming language (1967)
  • John H. Patterson — Founder of National Cash Register, early innovator and manufacturer of adding devices (1884)
  • Alexai Pazhitnov — Wrote the videogame “Tetris” in the Soviet Union during Cold War, smuggled it to the outside world where it became a best-seller (1984)
  • Chuck Peddle — Led the teams that developed the MOS 6502 microprocessor (1975), KIM-1 kit microcomputer (1976), and Commodore PET (1977)
  • Alan J. Perlis — On team that developed ALGOL programming language, pioneer in artificial intelligence
  • George Philbrick — Inventor of the first fully electric analog computer in 1938
  • Jerry Pournelle — Groundbreaking computer and IT journalist
  • James Rand Jr. — Founded the office-equipment company that later became the Sperry-Rand firm that manufactured pioneering mainframes (1955)
  • Wayne Ratliff — Wrote “dBASE,” the first popular database program for personal computers (1978)
  • Eric S. Raymond — Early open-source software advocate
  • Larry Roberts — Led development of ARPANET (later the Internet) (1967)
  • Jonathan Sachs — Co-founded (with Mitch Kapor) Lotus Software, and wrote the “Lotus 1-2-3” spreadsheet — the most popular spreadsheet for MS-DOS (1982)
  • Jean E. Sammet — Wrote the FORMAC programming language (1962); worked on team that wrote the COBOL programming language (1959)
  • Roger Schank — Artificial intelligence theorist, founder of Cognitive Systems (1981)
  • Per Georg Scheutz — Built the first working version of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine (1843)
  • Alan Shugart — Led the team that developed the first floppy disk (1971); co-founder (with Finis Connor) of Shugart Technology, which became Seagate, a leading maker of computer hard drives (1979)
  • Cynthia Solomon — Co-developed (with Wally Feurzeig and Seymour Papert) the Logo programming language (1967)
  • Morgan Sparks — Developed the microwatt bipolar junction transistor (1951)
  • George Stibitz — Designed Bell Labs’ Model K relay computer (1937) and the Complex Number Calculator (1938)
  • Randy Suess — Co-founder (with Ward Christensen) of the CBBS bulletin board, the first dial-up bulletin board system, or BBS (1978)
  • Ivan Sutherland — Developer of “Sketchpad,” one of the first attempts at a graphical user interface (1963)
  • Andrew Tanenbaum — Developed the MINIX operating system (1987)
  • Bob Taylor — Directed ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office (1965), founded and directed Xerox PARC’s Computer Science Laboratory (1970), and founder and manager of Digital Equipment Corporation’s Systems Research Center (1984)
  • Gordon Teal — Developed breakthrough process to manufacture single-crystal germanium transistors (1952), as well as silicon transistors (1954)
  • Larry Tesler — Developed early word processor functions such as copy and paste at Xerox PARC; coined phrase “WYSIWYG”; worked on Lisa and Newton at Apple
  • Dave Theury — Wrote “Missile Command” and “Tempest” arcade games for Atari (1981)
  • Jonathan Titus — Developed the Mark-8, one of the earliest mail-order personal computer kits (1974)
  • Ray Tomlinson — Wrote the first e-mail system to run between two separate computers, leading to modern system of Internet e-mail (1971)
  • Jack Tramiel — Founded Commodore Business Machines (1954), and led its transition from office equipment to personal computers; he purchased Atari from Warner Bros., and led it into the 16-bit generation of personal computers and 64-bit videogames (1984)
  • André Truong Trong Thi  — Co-developed (with François Gernelle) the MICRAL N computer, considered the world’s first modern pre-assembled personal computer (1973)
  • John Von Neumann — Computer theoretician whose ideas influenced the design of the EDVAC (1949) and IAS Computer (1951)
  • Ted Waitt — Co-founded (with Norm Waitt Jr. and Mike Hammond) Gateway, a one-time leading direct-seller of personal computers
  • An Wang — Co-developed (withWay-Dong Woo) the pulse transfer controlling device for core memory (1949); co-founded (with G. Y. Chu) Wang Laboratories (1976), a significant manufacturer of dedicated word processors
  • John Warnock — Co-developed (with Charles Geschke) InterPress, a printing control language (1982); left Xerox PARC and co-founded (with Geschke) Adobe Systems Inc. (1982); co-developed (with Geschke) PostScript, a printing control language functionally similar to InterPress, but coded from the ground up (1985)
  • Thomas J. Watson — Longtime and highly influential president of International Business Machines who led the company from tabulation into the digital age.
  • Joseph Weizenbaum — Developed ELIZA, widely considered the first artificial intelligence program (1966); later became a leading voice warning of the challenges posed by the Computer Revolution in addition to the potential benefits
  • John H. White — Former Chief Information Officer at Texas Instruments, pioneered artificial intelligence research (circa 1983)
  • Bob Whitehead — Early video game designer for the Atari 2600 (including “Starship”); co-founded (with David Crane, Larry Kaplan and Alan Miller) Activision, an early video game publisher (1979); co-founded (with Miller) Accolade, another video game publisher (1984); designed “Hardball!”, a popular baseball simulation for the Commodore 64 and Atari 800 (1985)
  • David Wheeler — Co-developed (with Stanley Gill and Maurice Wilkes) the concept of a software subroutine, while working on the EDSAC computer (1955)
  • Maurice Wilkes — Co-developed (with Stanley Gill and David Wheeler) the concept of a software subroutine, while working on the EDSAC computer (1955)
  • Frederic Williams — Helped design (with Tom Kilburn) the Manchester Baby, the first stored-memory electronic computer (1948), including the use of the Williams-Kilburn Tube
  • Ken Williams — Programmer who worked with his wife, Roberta Williams, to program her designs; co-founder (with Roberta Williams) of Sierra On-Line, an early software publisher (1980)
  • Roberta Williams — Pioneering video game designer, creating groundbreaking games like “King’s Quest” (1984) and “Mystery House” (1980); co-founder (with Ken Williams) of Sierra On-Line, an early software publisher (1980)
  • Niklaus Wirth — Developed or co-developed more than a half-dozen programming languages, including Pascal (1970)
  • Jerry Yang — Co-founder (with David Filo) of Yahoo! (1994)
  • Philip R. Zimmerman — Programmed “Pretty Good Privacy,” one of the first encryption programs available to the general public (1991)
  • Konrad Zuse — Inventor of the Z-1 through 3 machines, early program-controlled (using relays) computers (1941)
  • Vladimir Zworykin — Developed a method for displaying an image on a cathode ray tube (1923), leading to television, the oscilloscope and display monitors