computer science

William Higinbotham and Tennis for Two

William Higinbotham and Tennis for Two

Tennis for Two played on an Oscilloscope On October 25, 1910, US-american physicist William “Willy” A. Higinbotham was born. A member of the Manhattan Project, he later became a leader in the nonproliferation movement of nuclear weapons. Moreover, he is also known for his development of ‘Tennis for Two‘, the first interactive analog computer game and one of the first electronic games to use a graphical display. William Alfred Higinbotham was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut,…
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Seymour R. Cray – the Father of Supercomputing

Seymour R. Cray – the Father of Supercomputing

CRAY 1 with exposed interiors 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. Seymour Cray was born in 1925 in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, a small town situated…
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John McCarthy and the Raise of Artificial Intelligence

John McCarthy and the Raise of Artificial Intelligence

John McCarthy (1927 – 2011) Image by null0 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. John McCarthy graduated from…
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E.F. Codd and the Relational Database Model

E.F. Codd and 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. When you talk about databases today, usually you are referring to relational databases that store their data within tables, interconnected via so-called keys. Of course there are also modern alternatives such as e.g. graph…
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Marvin Minsky and Artificial Neural Networks

Marvin Minsky and Artificial Neural Networks

Marvin Minsky at OLPCb 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. Yes, I did my diploma thesis in computer science on backpropagation networks, a special variant of neural networks. Therefore, Marvin Minsky definitely deserves an entry in this blog, simply because he is one of…
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Dan Bricklin and VisiCalc

Dan Bricklin and VisiCalc

VisiCalc 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. So,…
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The Antikythera Mechanism – an Ancient Analog Computer

The Antikythera Mechanism – an Ancient Analog Computer

On May 17, 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer, designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses. The famous mechanism was discovered in a shipwreck near the Greekisland of Antikythera. In October 1900, a group of sponge divers discovered the wreck and retrieved a great number of artifacts dating back to the end of the second century BC, which included bronze and marble statues, pottery,…
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Rudy Rucker – Infinity and the Mind

Rudy Rucker – Infinity and the Mind

On March 22, 1946, American mathematician, computer scientist, science fiction author, and philosopher Rudolph von Bitter Rucker, better known as Rudy Rucker, was born. He is also one of the founders of the cyberpunk literary movement. Rucker was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, where his father Embry Cobb Rucker, Sr., a descended from Flemish Huguenots, ran a small furniture-manufacturing company. Later in life, Embry Cobb Rucker, Sr. became an Episcopal minister…
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J.C.R. Licklider and Interactive Computing

J.C.R. Licklider and Interactive Computing

On March 11, 1915, American psychologist and computer scientist J.C.R. Licklider, known simply as J.C.R. or “Lick“, was born. He is particularly remembered for being one of the first to foresee modern-style interactive computing and was one of the most distinguished Internet pioneers. Licklider was born in St. Louis, Missouri and his engineering talents became clear pretty early, when he built model airplanes as a child. He enrolled at Washington University in…
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Who remembers Apple’s Lisa?

Who remembers Apple’s Lisa?

On January 19, 1983, the Apple Lisa was introduced, the first personal computer to offer a graphical user interface in an inexpensive machine aimed at individual business users. Although a commercial failure, the Lisa paved the way for the famous Apple MacIntosh released in 1984 [4]. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the early 1980s. But the era of personal computers had just began, which means there were small…
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