computer science

Norbert Wiener and the Science of Cybernetics

Norbert Wiener and the Science of Cybernetics

On November 26, 1894, American mathematician Norbert Wiener was born. Wiener established the science of cybernetics, a term he coined, which is concerned with the common factors of control and communication in living organisms, automatic machines, and organizations. He attained international renown by formulating some of the most important contributions to mathematics in the 20th century. “Scientific discovery consists in the interpretation for our own convenience of a system of existence which has…
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The Last Lecture of Randy Pausch

The Last Lecture of Randy Pausch

On October 23, 1960, professor of computer science and human-computer interaction Randy Pausch was born. He is best known for a lecture titled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” he gave after he had learned that he had pancreatic cancer, which became rather popular on youtube. Randy Pausch Randy Pausch studied at Brown University and received his Ph.D. in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University in the 1980’s. He fulfilled…
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Seymour Cray – the Father of Supercomputing

Seymour Cray – the Father of Supercomputing

On September 28, 1925, American electrical engineer and supercomputer architect Seymour Roger Cray was born. He designed a series of computers that were the fastest in the world for decades, and founded Cray Research which built many of these machines. Called “the father of supercomputing,” Cray has been credited with creating the supercomputer industry. “One of my guiding principles is don’t do anything that other people are doing. Always do something a little…
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The Bug that wasn’t really a Bug – Computer Pioneer Grace Murray Hopper

The Bug that wasn’t really a Bug – Computer Pioneer Grace Murray Hopper

Most of you might think that computers is one of these men’s business things. Far from it! Not even that it was a women who is often referenced as the first computer programmer in history – Ada Augusta King Countess of Lovelace [1] – it was also a woman in the early days of computers, who developed the very first compiler to translate high level language computer programs into low level machine commands. But besides…
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John McCarthy and the Raise of Artificial Intelligence

John McCarthy and the Raise of Artificial Intelligence

On September 4, 1927, American computer scientist and cognitive scientist John McCarthy was born. He was one of the founders of the discipline of artificial intelligence. He coined the term “artificial intelligence” (AI), developed the Lisp programming language family, significantly influenced the design of the ALGOL programming language, popularized timesharing, and was very influential in the early development of AI. “Intelligence has two parts, which we shall call the epistemological and the…
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E.F. Codd and the Success of the Relational Database Model

E.F. Codd and the Success of the Relational Database Model

On August 23, 1923, English computer scientist Edgar Frank “Ted” Codd was born. His main achievement besides many contributions to computer science was the invention of the relational model for database management, the theoretical basis for relational databases. “At the time, Nixon was normalizing relations with China. I figured that if he could normalize relations, then so could I.” — E. F. Codd [5] When you talk about databases today, usually you…
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Marvin Minsky and Artificial Neural Networks

Marvin Minsky and Artificial Neural Networks

On August 9, 1927, American biochemist and the founder of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project Marvin Minsky was born. He is also known for his foundational work in the analysis of artificial neural networks. “Once the computers got control, we might never get it back. We would survive at their sufferance. If we’re lucky, they might decide to keep us as pets.” – Marvin Minsky, Life Magazine (20 November 1970), p. 68…
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How Dan Bricklin created VisiCalc, the first Spreadsheet Software

How Dan Bricklin created VisiCalc, the first Spreadsheet Software

On July 16, 1951, computer scientist Dan Bricklin was born. Together with Bob Frankston he created VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet computer program (1979) which created a market beyond hobbyists for the emerging personal computers. Today, everybody knows spreadsheet programs, no matter if you choose a desktop application or a web based application, spreadsheets are everywhere. And sometimes, we don’t have any idea, how we could possibly get along without them. Spreadsheets So,…
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Probably the Most Popular Video Game Ever – Space Invaders!

Probably the Most Popular Video Game Ever – Space Invaders!

In early June 1978 – we have not been able to determine the exact date – the famous arcade video game Space Invaders designed by Tomohiro Nishikado was released by the Japanese Taito Corporation. Space Invaders is one of the earliest shooting games and the aim is to defeat waves of attacking aliens with a laser cannon to earn as many points as possible. As the invaders were shot down one by…
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Konrad Zuse – The German Inventor of the Computer

Konrad Zuse – The German Inventor of the Computer

On December 18, 1995, German engineer and computer pioneer Konrad Zuse passed away. He is renowned to have constructed the very first functional program-controlled Turing-complete computer,which was freely programmable and provided binary floating point arithmetics: the Z3, which became operational in May 1941. “The belief in a certain idea gives to the researcher the support for his work. Without this belief he would be lost in a sea of doubts and insufficiently…
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