computer science

John Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

John Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

John Vincent Atanasoff (1903-1995) On October 4, 1903, American physicist and inventor John Vincent Atanasoff was born. He is best known for being considered as one of the inventors of the electronic digital computer. Even computer scientists most probably haven’t heard anything of this computer pioneer. Of course you will have heard about Alan Turing or John von Neumann, who are traditionally referenced as being the fathers of the computer.…
GNU’s not Unix

GNU’s not Unix

On September 27, 1983, American software freedom activist and computer programmer Richard Stallman announced the GNU project. Its aim is to give computer users freedom and control in their use of their computers and computing devices, by collaboratively developing and providing software. You’ve probably never heard of GNU, unless you are a computer scientist or some kind of software developer. But, GNU denotes the starting point of a development that…
Space Invaders!

Space Invaders!

Space Invaders Image:  Adlen 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…
Deep Blue vs Gary Kasparov

Deep Blue vs Gary Kasparov

On May 11, 1997, Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format. The story of the chess playing supercomputer started in 1985 with a computer called ChipTest at Carnegie Mellon University by Feng-hsiung Hsu. But actually, the dream of an automated chess player being able to…
The Publication of the First RFC

The Publication of the First RFC

Steve Crocker wrote the very first RFC 1 on April 7, 1969 On April 7, 1969, Steve Crocker of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), published the first Request for Comment – RFC 1 – entitled “Host Software“. This might be considered as the beginning of the internet, because Request for Comments (RFC) are memoranda describing methods, behaviors, research, or innovations applicable to the working of the Internet and Internet-connected…
Vannevar Bush and the Memex

Vannevar Bush and the Memex

Vannevar Bush (1890-1974) On March 11, 1890, American engineer, inventor and science administrator Vannevar Bush was born. He is best known as as head of the U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD) during World War II, through which almost all wartime military research and development was carried out, including initiation of the Manhattan Project. In computer science we know Vannevar Bush as the father of the memex, an adjustable…
Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman

Neil Postman (1931 – 2003) On March 8, 1931, media theorist, author, and cultural critic Neil Postman was born. He is best known for his works criticizing the increase of the role of technology in every human’s life not seeing the dangerous side effects. Neil Postman spent almost all of his lifetime in New York City and graduated at the State University of New York, receiving a master’s degree in 1955. A…
Nikolaus Wirth and PASCAL

Nikolaus Wirth and PASCAL

Niklaus Wirth giving a lecture On February 15, 1934, Swiss computer scientist Niklaus Emil Wirth was born. He is best known for designing several programming languages, including Pascal, and for pioneering several classic topics in software engineering. If there is (or better ‘was’) one programming language that I really loved in the same way I hated it, then it was Pascal. On the one hand it was a rather easy to…
ENIAC – The First Computer Introduced Into Public

ENIAC – The First Computer Introduced Into Public

  On February 13, 1946, J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly introduced Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, the first general purpose, electronic computer. ENIAC was a giant step forward in computing technology. Actually, the research that lead to the development of ENIAC was sponsored by the US military. The army needed a computer for calculating artillery-firing tables, the settings used for different weapons under varied conditions for target…
Donald Knuth and the Art of Programming

Donald Knuth and the Art of Programming

Donald E. Knuth, photo: October 25, 2005 by Jacob Appelbaum On January 10, 1938, computer scientist Donald Knuth, developer of the seminal computer science textbooks ‘The Art of Computer Programming’, was born. He is also widely known for his development of the TeX typesetting framework and the Metafont font definition language. Actually, Donald Knuth is one of my personal heroes in computer science. The very day I started to study…
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