computer science

Tom Kilburn and the First Stored-Program Computer

Tom Kilburn and the First Stored-Program Computer

On August 11, 1921, English engineer Tom Kilburn was born. Kilburn became known for having written the computer program used to test the first stored-program computer, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, SSEM, also known as “The Baby” in 1948. “… the most exciting time was June 1948 when the first machine worked. Without question. Nothing could ever compare with that.” Tom Kilburn, Autumn 1992 Tom Kilburn was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, England and…
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John Wilkins and the Universal Language

John Wilkins and the Universal Language

On February 14, 1614, Anglican clergyman, natural philosopher and author John Wilkins was born. Wilkins was one of the founders of the Royal Society and a polymath, although not one of the most important scientific innovators of the period. He is particularly known for An Essay towards a Real Character and a Philosophical Language (1668) in which, amongst other things, he proposed a universal language and a decimal system of measures which…
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Richard Hamming and the Hamming Code

Richard Hamming and the Hamming Code

On February 11, 1915, American mathematician Richard Wesley Hamming was born. Hamming’s work had many implications for computer science and telecommunications. His contributions include the Hamming code (which makes use of a Hamming matrix), the Hamming window, Hamming numbers, sphere-packing (or Hamming bound), and the Hamming distance. “The purpose of computation is insight, not numbers.” – Richard Wesley Hamming (1962) as quoted in [2] Richard Hamming – Youth and Education Richard Wesley…
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How Margaret Hamilton Helped Apollo 11 to Safely Land on the Moon

How Margaret Hamilton Helped Apollo 11 to Safely Land on the Moon

On August 17, 1936, American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner Margaret Hamilton was born. Hamilton was Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which developed on-board flight software for the Apollo space program. A Software Developer at MIT Margaret Elaine Heafield was born in Paoli, Indiana, USA, to Kenneth Heafield and Ruth Esther Heafield.  Hamilton graduated from Hancock High School in 1954 and received her B.Sc.…
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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— ever-breaking links, links going outward only,…
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Ramon Llull and the Tree of Knowledge

Ramon Llull and the Tree of Knowledge

Probably in 1232, philosopher, logician, Franciscan tertiary and Catalan writer Ramon Llull (Anglicised Raymond Lully, Raymond Lull; in Latin Raimundus or Raymundus Lullus or Lullius) was born. He is credited with writing the first major work of Catalan literature Recently surfaced manuscripts show his work to have predated by several centuries prominent work on elections theory. He is also considered a pioneer of computation theory, especially given his influence on Leibniz.[2] “For…
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Joseph Weizenbaum and his famous Eliza

Joseph Weizenbaum and his famous Eliza

On January 8, 1923, computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum, a pioneer in natural language processing and artificial intelligence, who later became one of artificial intelligence’s leading critics, was born. In 1966 he published a simple program named Eliza, which involved its users in a conversation that bore a striking resemblance to one with a psychologist. Joseph Weizenbaum – Early Years Joseph Weizenbaum was born in Berlin the son of master furrier Jechiel Weizenbaum…
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Warren Weaver – A Pioneer in Machine Translation

Warren Weaver – A Pioneer in Machine Translation

On November 24, 1978, American scientist, mathematician, and science administrator Warren Weaver passed away. Weaver is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of machine translation, and as an important figure in creating support for science in the United States. Youth and Education Warren Weaver was born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, USA, to Kittie Belle Stupfel and Isaiah Weaver, who was a pharmacist. In 1904, the family moved from Reedsburg to Madison, Wisconsin,…
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Jay Wright Forrester and System Dynamics

Jay Wright Forrester and System Dynamics

On July 14, 1918, pioneering American computer engineer and systems scientist Jay Wright Forrester was born. Forrester is known as the founder of system dynamics, which deals with the simulation of interactions between objects in dynamic systems. He also he supervised the building of the Whirlwind computer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for which he invented the random-access magnetic core memory, the information-storage device employed in most digital computers. “In concept…
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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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