computer science

Scott Fahlman and the Origin of the Emoticons :-)

Scott Fahlman and the Origin of the Emoticons :-)

On September 19, 1982, Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons ūüôā and ūüôĀ on the Carnegie Mellon University Bulletin Board System. As SMS and the Internet became widespread in the late 1990s, emoticons became increasingly popular and were commonly used on text messages, internet forums and e-mails. Emoticons have played a significant role in communication through technology. “I often think there should exist a special typographical sign for a smile ‚ÄĒ…
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Linux at the Core of the Open Source Revolution

Linux at the Core of the Open Source Revolution

On September 17, 1991, the Finnish student of computer science Linus Torvalds, uploaded Linux kernel version 0.01 to the ftp server ftp.funet.fi. This might be considered as the date of birth of the famous free operating system Linux, although Torvalds announced the new OS a few weeks earlier on usenet already. Nevertheless, Linux has become one of the most popular operating systems today, and this of course with a god reason…. I…
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IBM and the Success Story of the Personal Computer

IBM and the Success Story of the Personal Computer

On August 12, 1981, IBM presented the IBM 5150, the very first IBM personal computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It was created by a team of engineers and designers under the direction of Philip Donald Estridge of the IBM Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida. Actually, it were his decisions that dramatically changed the computer industry,…
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It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

It’s Computable – thanks to Alonzo Church

You know, the fact that you can read your email on a cell phone as well as on your desktop computer or almost any other computer connected to the internet, in principle is possible thanks to mathematician Alonzo Church, who gave the proof (together with Alan Turing) that everything that is computable on the simple model of a Turing Machine, also is computable with any other ‘computer model’. Church studied at Princeton…
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Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Let Us Calculate – the Last Universal Academic Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

On July 1, 1646, one of the last universally interdisciplinary academics, active in the fields of mathematics, physics, history, politics, philosophy, and librarianship was born. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz counts as one of the most influential scientists of the late 17th and early 18th century and impersonates a meaningful representative of the Age of Enlightenment. Moreover, he is also the namesake of the¬†association to which the institute I am working for is a…
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Churchill’s Best Horse in the Barn – Alan Turing, Codebreaker and AI Pioneer

Churchill’s Best Horse in the Barn – Alan Turing, Codebreaker and AI Pioneer

On June 23, 1912, English computer scientist, mathematician, logician, and cryptanalyst,Alan Mathison Turing was born. Outside the world of computer science or mathematics the name of probably the most influential figure and in some sense the father of all computing technology Alan Turing is hardly known. But it was him, who laid the foundations of the theory of computing. Already in the 1930s, when no digital electronic computer had ever been built,…
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Ted Nelson and the Xanadu Hypertext System

Ted Nelson and the Xanadu Hypertext System

On June 17, 1937, American pioneer of information technology, philosopher, and sociologist¬†Theodore Holm “Ted” Nelson was born. Nelson coined the terms hypertext and hypermedia in 1963 and published them in 1965. Nelson founded Project Xanadu in 1960, with the goal of creating a computer network with a simple user interface, a predecessor of modern World Wide Web. “HTML is precisely what we were trying to PREVENT‚ÄĒ ever-breaking links, links going outward only,…
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Ivan Sutherland – Well, I Didn’t Know it was Hard

Ivan Sutherland – Well, I Didn’t Know it was Hard

On May 16, 1938, American computer scientist and internet pioneer¬†Ivan Sutherland¬†was born.¬†¬†Sutherland¬†has received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1988 for his invention of Sketchpad, an early predecessor to the sort of graphical user interface that has become ubiquitous in personal computers today. Sketchpad could accept constraints and specified relationships among segments and arcs, including the diameter of arcs. It could draw both horizontal and vertical lines and…
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Do You Speak Polish… Or Maybe Reverse Polish?

Do You Speak Polish… Or Maybe Reverse Polish?

I guess almost nobody except a few mathematicians and computer scientists have ever heard of the Australian computer scientist Charles Leonard Hamblin, who passed away on May 14, 1985. And also most of my fellow computer scientists might not have heard of him. But, one of his major contributions to computer science was the introduction of the so-called Reverse Polish Notation. Does that ring a bell? Interrupted by the Second World War…
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Claude Shannon – the Father of Information Theory

Claude Shannon – the Father of Information Theory

On April 30, 1916,¬†American mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer¬†Claude Elwood Shannon was born, the “father of information theory“, whose groundbreaking work ushered in the Digital Revolution. Of course Shannon is famous for having founded information theory with one landmark paper published in 1948. But he is also credited with founding both digital computer and digital circuit design theory in 1937, when, as a 21-year-old master’s student at MIT, he wrote a thesis…
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