computer science

Rolf Landauer and the Landauer Principle

On February 4, 1927, German-American physicist Rolf William Landauer was born. Landauer made important contributions in diverse areas of the thermodynamics of information processing, condensed matter physics, and the conductivity of disordered media. He is probably best known for the formulation of the eponymous Landauer Principle concerning the energy used during a computer‘s operation. “We shall call a device logically irreversible if the output of a device does not uniquely define the…
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Robert Kahn and the Internet Protocol

Robert Kahn and the Internet Protocol

On December 23, 1938, American computer scientist and internet pioneer Robert E. Kahn was born. Along with Vint Cerf, Kahn invented the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Internet Protocol (IP), the fundamental communication protocols at the heart of the Internet. I had the pleasure to meet Bob Kahn (as well as Vint Cerf) in the course of one of the IPv6 summits at Hasso Plattner Institute Potsdam, Germany, by the time…
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Haskell Brooks Curry and Computational Logic

Haskell Brooks Curry and Computational Logic

On September 12, 1900, American mathematician and logician Haskell Brooks Curry was born. Curry’s research in the foundations of mathematics led him to the development of combinatory logic. Later, this seminal work found significant application in computer science, especially in the design of programming languages. Curry is also known for Curry’s paradox and the Curry–Howard correspondence. There are three programming languages named after him, Haskell, Brook and Curry, as well as the concept of…
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John William Mauchly and the Electronic Computer

John William Mauchly and the Electronic Computer

On August 30, 1907, US-American physicist John William Mauchly was born. Along with J. Presper Eckert, Mauchly designed ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic digital computer, as well as EDVAC, BINAC and UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer made in the United States. Together they started the first computer company, the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC), and pioneered fundamental computer concepts including the stored program, subroutines, and programming languages. Childhood and Education John…
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Robert Ledley and the Computer Tomograph

Robert Ledley and the Computer Tomograph

On June 28, 1926, American computer scientist Robert Steven Ledley was born. Ledley pioneered the use of electronic digital computers in biology and medicine. He invented the ACTA (Automatic Computerized Transverse Axial) diagnostic X-ray scanner, the first whole-body computerized tomography (CT) machine, which revolutionized medical diagnosis. Conrad Roentgen‘s discovery of the “x-rays” already was a sensation in 1895, which revolutionized medical diagnostics. The CT-scan led another step further to more thorough and…
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Do you speak ASCII?

Do you speak ASCII?

On June 17, 1963, the American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or short better known as ASCII code was published as ASA X3.4-1963 by the American National Standards Institute. ASCII codes represent text in computers, communications equipment, and other devices that use text. Most modern character-encoding schemes are based on ASCII, though they support many additional characters. ASCII was the most common character encoding on the World Wide Web until December 2007,…
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Herbert A. Simon and the Science of Decision Making

Herbert A. Simon and the Science of Decision Making

On June 15, 1916, American political scientist, economist, sociologist, psychologist, and computer scientist Herbert Alexander Simon was born. Simon was among the founding fathers of several of today’s important scientific domains, including artificial intelligence, information processing, decision-making, problem-solving, organization theory, complex systems, and computer simulation of scientific discovery. With almost a thousand highly cited publications, he was one of the most influential social scientists of the 20th century. “(If) there were no…
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The BASIC Programming Language

The BASIC Programming Language

On May 1st, 1964, the original BASIC programming language was released by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz, implemented under their direction by a team of Dartmouth College students in New Hampshire. Their initial goal was to enable students in fields other than science and mathematics to use computers. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to learn. Actually, BASIC also was…
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George Stibitz and the Electromechanical Digital Computer

George Stibitz and the Electromechanical Digital Computer

  On April 30, 1904, U.S. mathematician George Robert Stibitz was born. Stibitz is recognized as one of the fathers of the modern first digital computer. He was a Bell Labs researcher known for his work in the 1930s and 1940s on the realization of Boolean logic digital circuits using electromechanical relays as the switching element. Stibitz was born in York, Pennsylvania to George Stibitz, a professor of theology, and his wife…
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The World Digital Library

The World Digital Library

On April 21, 2009, the World Digital Library (WDL) was launched. The WDL is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress. The library intends to make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials. In 2003, the…
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