Black desktop computer

Significant People In Computer History

  • Charles Babbage and the Difference Engine

    Charles Babbage and the Difference Engine
    o Babbage had the idea of a mechanical computer after seeing how tables of numbers that were created by humans had very frequent errors.
     A device called a difference engine was begun to calculate values automatically, but funds ran dry and it was never finished.
    o He drew plans for another engine and the first programmable computer, but died before any designs could be built. (University of Michigan) (Expert Reviews)
  • John Antasoff and Clifford Berry

    John Antasoff and Clifford Berry
    o The two invented the first electronic digital computer during WWII. (Business Insider)
  • Tommy Flowers

    Tommy Flowers
    o Also a member of the team that Turing was on, he helped build the world’s first electronic computer: Colossus. It was used to break the Lorenz Cipher, which was used by the Germans.
     Colossus was the first programmable, digital computer. Its success was demonstrated by producing a decrypt showing that German troops were not moving into Normandy and D-Day landing had a high chance of success. (Expert Reviews)
  • Alan Turing

    Alan Turing
    o A mathematician, Turing turned to computers to help break codes during World War II.
     The initial machine, the Bombe, helped code breakers figure out the German code on their Enigma machines.
    • It was easily programmed and it could calculate possible Enigma settings, which were then verified by hand.
    (Expert Reviews)
  • Howard Aiken

    Howard Aiken
    o Aiken was the original designer behind the Harvard Mark I Computer in 1944.
     An electromechanical computer, it was used to make calculations for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships, and it was much more accurate than its predecessors.
    (Business Insider)
  • John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert

    John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert
    o The two developed the ENIAC, which is widely regarded as the first mainstream digital computer for the US Army. (Business Insider)
  • John von Neumann

    John von Neumann
    o A great mathematician, he is also largely recognized for computer science.
    o He developed computer architecture in which both date and time and the program are stored at the same spot in a computer’s memory. (Expert Reviews)
    o This computer architecture dominated until more recently, when technology has allowed for more complex designs.
    (Expert Reviews)
  • John McCarthy

    John McCarthy
    o Also the man who coined the term “artificial intelligence,” McCarthy developed the Lisp programming language, which significantly influenced future programming languages. (Business Insider)
  • Douglas Englebart

    Douglas Englebart
    o He created a research department that created methods that people would interact with computers with at the Stanford Research Institute.
    o He here developed the mouse, bit-mapped screens, hypertext, and some precursors to the graphical user interface.
    o His research allowed Xerox to continue the development and create the windowed-operating system basis.
    (Expert Reviews)
  • Gordon Moore

    Gordon Moore
    o Moore is famous for his description of how the number of transistors that can be place on an integrated circuit doubles about every two years.
     Although observation at the time, his company Intel still abides by Moore’s belief.
     Initially a semi-conductor company, its focus switched to processors, which were supplied to IBM for use in the PC.
     The company has also seen its architecture become the standard in all types of computers, from high-end servers to simple laptops. (Expert Reviews)
  • Tim Paterson

    Tim Paterson
    o Paterson wrote QDOS, the operating system that he sold to Bill Gates in 1980. It was sold to the point of being the most widely used operating system of the day. (Business Insider)
  • Phillip Don Estridge

    Phillip Don Estridge
    o Estridge led the development of the Personal Computer (PC) for IBM, which is arguably the most important computer in history because it was designed by using pre-existing parts, rather than creating new technology.
    o IBM also used an open architecture so that other companies could create their own IBM compatible-computers.
    o This architecture still exists, and has been embraced by all computer manufacturers. (Expert Reviews)
  • Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs
    o The first Apple computer, the Macintosh, was the first to have a graphical user interface and mouse.
     The Mac highlights Jobs’ ability to improve existing technology in order to make it desirable, and it was Apple who made the mouse and new interface successful.
     Apple is currently the leading company in the personal computer market, with new additions such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. (Expert Reviews)
  • Tim Berners-Lee

    Tim Berners-Lee
    o Inventor of the World Wide Web, Lee designed and built the first web browser and linked hypertext to the Internet, which connected computers around the globe. (Expert Reviews)