Famous American Computer Scientists

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Find out more about the greatest American Computer Scientists, including Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Grace Hopper, Donald Knuth and Ken Jennings.
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 1 
Steve Wozniak
(Co-Founder of Apple Inc.)
Steve Wozniak
14
Birthdate: August 11, 1950
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States

Widely recognized as one of the two important pioneers of the personal computer revolution, Steve Wozniak is credited with co-founding Apple Inc. along with Steve Jobs. Not surprisingly, he has been described as one of the men that changed the course of history through technology. Apart from being a programmer and technology entrepreneur, Steve Wozniak is also a well-known philanthropist.

 2 
Grace Hopper
(Computer Scientist, Mathematician and One of the First Programmers of the ‘Harvard Mark I’ Computer)
Grace Hopper
31
Birthdate: December 9, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: January 1, 1992
Computer scientist and U.S. Navy rear admiral Grace Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computing system. She pioneered the machine-independent programming language technique, and the FLOW-MATIC language used by her was later used to create COBOL. She received a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 3 
Claude Shannon
(Mathematician, Engineer & Cryptographer Known as a 'Father of Information Theory')
Claude Shannon
12
Birthdate: April 30, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Petoskey, Michigan, United States
Died: February 24, 2001

Claude Shannon was an electrical engineer, mathematician, and cryptographer. He is credited with publishing the article A Mathematical Theory of Communication which gave rise to the field of information theory. Hence, Shannon is considered the father of information theory. He is also credited with founding digital circuit design theory. During World War II, he contributed to the field of cryptanalysis.

 4 
Vint Cerf
(Computer scientist)
Vint Cerf
12
Birthdate: June 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
 5 
Ken Thompson
(Computer Scientist)
Ken Thompson
8
Birthdate: February 4, 1943
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
 6 
Dennis Ritchie
(American Computer Scientist Known for Creating the C Programming Language)
Dennis Ritchie
17
Birthdate: September 9, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bronxville, New York, United States
Died: October 12, 2011

Computer scientist, Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie, worked at Bell Labs Computing Sciences Research Center for most of his career, co-developing the Unix operating system and B programming language with Kenneth Thompson, co-winning the 1983 A.M. Turing Award for it. Earlier, he had also created C programming language and was involved with the development of the Plan 9 and Inferno operating systems.

 7 
Jawed Karim
(Co-Founder of 'YouTube' and the First Person to Upload a Video to the Site)
Jawed Karim
8
Birthdate: October 28, 1979
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Merseburg, Germany

Jawed Karim is an American Internet entrepreneur and software engineer. Karim is credited with co-founding one of the most popular online video-sharing platforms, YouTube. He is also credited with uploading the first YouTube video named Me at the zoo. During his time working at PayPal, Jawed Karim had designed many of the company's core components, such as its anti-Internet-fraud system.

 8 
Bill Gates
(Co-Founder of Microssoft)
Bill Gates
18
Birthdate: October 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

Leading American technologist, business leader and philanthropist, Bill Gates is the co-founder of the world’s largest software company, Microsoft. His passion for computers made him one of the richest in the world and through his charity foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he and his ex-wife, Melinda, use this money generously to help people world over live a better life.

 9 
John McCarthy
(Mathematician, Computer scientist, Engineer, University teacher)
John McCarthy
11
Birthdate: September 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Boston
Died: October 24, 2011
 10 
Marvin Minsky
(Mathematician, Computer scientist, University teacher)
Marvin Minsky
13
Birthdate: August 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 24, 2016
 11 
Margaret Hamilton
(American Computer Scientist, Systems Engineer, and Business Owner)
Margaret Hamilton
12
Birthdate: August 17, 1936
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paoli, Indiana, United States

Credited with coining the term software engineering, computer scientist and systems engineer, Margaret Heafield Hamilton served as the Director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, overseeing the development of the on-board flight software for NASA's Apollo program.  A prolific writer, she is also the founder of two software companies; Higher Order Software and Hamilton Technologies.

 12 
John Carmack
(Chief technology officer, Aerospace engineer, Programmer, Computer scientist)
John Carmack
9
Birthdate: August 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kansas City

Computer-game developer John Carmack introduced pioneering innovations in the 3-D game arena. He specializes in first-person shooter games, such as Quake and Doom. The id Software founder had spent a year in a juvenile home and had later dropped out of university to become a freelance programmer.

 13 
Gabe Newell
(Entrepreneur)
Gabe Newell
21
Birthdate: November 3, 1962
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington

Businessman Gabe Newell is the co-founder and president of the video game developer and digital distribution company, Valve. As a young man, he worked for Microsoft for several years before he quit to found his own venture. He was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 2013.

 14 
James Gosling
(Programmer, Inventor, Computer scientist)
James Gosling
15
Birthdate: May 19, 1955
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Calgary

James Gosling earned the nickname Dr. Java after he revolutionized the world of computer programming with his Java programming language. The Carnegie Mellon alumnus has had a 26-year stint with Sun Microsystems. The computer nerd has a picture of the first 1000 digits of √2 framed in his office.

 15 
George Dantzig
(Mathematician, Computer scientist, Statistician)
George Dantzig
6
Birthdate: November 8, 1914
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Portland, Oregon, United States
Died: May 13, 2005

Mathematician George Dantzig, known for his research on linear programming, was the first to develop the simplex method. The National Medal of Science winner was the son of mathematician and linguist Tobias Dantzig. He was associated with RAND Corporation and also taught computer science and operations research at Stanford.

 16 
Alan Kay
(Computer Scientist)
Alan Kay
13
Birthdate: May 17, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts
 17 
Shawn Fanning
(Computer scientist, Programmer)
Shawn Fanning
5
Birthdate: November 22, 1980
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brockton

Computer programmer and entrepreneur Shawn Fanning revolutionized the world of information technology by developing a program that let users share MP3 copies of music from their personal computers with others on the internet. His invention led to the formation of Napster and got him featured on the cover of Time.

 18 
Leslie Lamport
(Mathematician, Computer scientist, Programmer, Engineer, Writer)
Leslie Lamport
3
Birthdate: February 7, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City
 19 
John von Neumann
(Great Mathematician Who Were Equally at Home in Pure and Applied Mathematics)
John von Neumann
14
Birthdate: December 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary
Died: February 8, 1957
Hungarian-American scientist John von Neumann contributed to the development of game theory and the concept of self-replication. His work covered vast areas including math, economics, physics, and computer science. His research on nuclear physics led him to be part of the advisory committee of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
 20 
Donald Knuth
(Mathematician and Computer Scientist Known for His Multivolume Series of Books “The Art of Computer Programming”)
Donald Knuth
11
Birthdate: January 10, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Mathematician and computer scientist Donald Ervin Knuth is best known for his contribution to the development of the rigorous analysis of the computational complexity of algorithms. Also the creator of the TeX computer typesetting system as well as the WEB and CWEB computer programming systems, he has published twenty books, most significant among them being The Art of Computer Programming.

 21 
Andy Hertzfeld
(Computer scientist, Engineer, Programmer)
Andy Hertzfeld
5
Birthdate: April 6, 1953
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Andy Hertzfeld is an innovator and software engineer. During the 1980s, Hertzfeld was one of the members of the Apple Macintosh development team. He is also credited with co-founding companies like Radius, General Magic, and Eazel. From 2005 to 2013, he contributed to the development of Google+. Elden Henson and Michael Stuhlbarg portrayed him in Jobs and Steve Jobs respectively.

 22 
David Filo
(Entrepreneur, Businessperson, Merchant, Computer scientist)
David Filo
5
Birthdate: April 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wisconsin
 23 
Judea Pearl
(Computer Scientist)
Judea Pearl
5
Birthdate: September 4, 1936
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tel Aviv, Israel

A.M. Turing Award-winning Israeli-American computer scientist Judea Pearl is known for his work on artificial intelligence and for creating the Bayesian network. He has penned several books on causality, too. He is also known as the father of Daniel Pearl, the journalist who was beheaded by Islamic terrorists in Pakistan.

 24 
Andy Rubin
(Computer programmer)
Andy Rubin
8
Birthdate: 1963 AD
Birthplace: Chappaqua, New York, United States

Andy Rubin earned the nickname Android during his time at Apple due to his obsession with robots and later co-founded Android Inc., becoming its CEO. He worked with Google for 9 years but quit the company amid sexual harassment allegations and an employee walk-out over his supposed exit package.

 25 
Douglas Hofstadter
(Philosopher, Writer, University teacher, Computer scientist)
Douglas Hofstadter
3
Birthdate: February 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City
 26 
Ed Boon
(Programmer, Engineer, Screenwriter, Computer scientist)
Ed Boon
5
Birthdate: February 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Chicago
 27 
Alonzo Church
(Mathematician, Philosopher, University teacher, Computer scientist)
Alonzo Church
3
Birthdate: June 14, 1903
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
Died: August 11, 1995
 28 
David Packard
(Entrepreneur, Engineer, Computer scientist)
David Packard
3
Birthdate: September 7, 1912
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pueblo
Died: March 26, 1996
 29 
Nick Szabo
(Computer scientist)
Nick Szabo
5
Birthdate: 1970 AD
Birthplace: america
 30 
Lawrence Lessig
(Jurist, Activist, Lawyer, Non-fiction writer, Computer scientist, Politician, Professor)
Lawrence Lessig
11
Birthdate: June 3, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rapid City

Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig established Creative Commons, a non-profit geared at reducing copyright restrictions, thus helping artists and creative professional share their works legally. A Democrat, he also co-founded Rootstrikers, aimed at combating corruption in Congress. He is also a TED speaker and has penned books such as Lesterland.

 31 
Chris Metzen
(Artist, Comics artist, Novelist, Writer, Screenwriter, Voice actor, Visual artist, Author, Computer scientist, Science fiction writer)
Chris Metzen
3
Birthdate: November 22, 1973
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: United States of America
 32 
Sergey Brin
(Co-Founder of 'Google')
Sergey Brin
18
Birthdate: August 21, 1973
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Google co-founder Sergey Brin also served as the president of Alphabet Inc. The seventh-richest person in the world as of 2020, Brin earlier dropped his PhD plans at Stanford, following which he and Larry Page launched Google in a garage. He is a devoted philanthropist and a Democratic Party donor.
 33 
George Hotz
(Blogger, Programmer, Computer scientist)
George Hotz
9
Birthdate: October 2, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Glen Rock, New Jersey

Known online as Geohot, George Francis Hotz is an American security hacker and software engineer, who at the age of seventeen became the first person to hack Apple’s iPhone. Later, he developed iOS jailbreaks and became the first person to crack a defense system in Sony PlayStation 3. Currently, he is working at comma.ai, a startup he founded in 2015.

 34 
Jaron Lanier
(Computer scientist, Composer)
Jaron Lanier
33
Birthdate: May 3, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
 35 
Lotfi A. Zadeh
(Mathematician)
Lotfi A. Zadeh
2
Birthdate: February 4, 1921
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baku, Azerbaijan
Died: September 6, 2017
 36 
Barbara Liskov
(Computer scientist)
Barbara Liskov
4
Birthdate: November 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
 37 
Hans Reiser
(Programmer, Entrepreneur, Computer scientist, Homicide)
Hans Reiser
3
Birthdate: December 19, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: California
 38 
Luis von Ahn
(Entrepreneur)
Luis von Ahn
3
Birthdate: August 9, 1978
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Guatemala City, Guatemala
 39 
James H. Clark
(Computer scientist)
James H. Clark
5
Birthdate: March 23, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Plainview, Texas, United States
 40 
Bill Joy
(Computer scientist, co-founded Sun Microsystems)
Bill Joy
3
Birthdate: November 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Farmington Hills, Michigan, United States
 41 
Edwin Catmull
(Computer scientist, Engineer)
Edwin Catmull
3
Birthdate: March 31, 1945
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Parkersburg
 42 
Andrew Ng
(American Computer Scientist Who was a Co-Founder and Head of Google Brain)
Andrew Ng
13
Birthdate: April 18, 1976
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England

British-American computer scientist and Stanford professor Andrew Ng is also the co-founder of DeepLearning.AI and Coursera. He is best known for his pioneering initiatives in the areas of online education and machine learning. He was also part of the Google Brain team and has co-authored more than 100 research papers.

 43 
Whitfield Diffie
(Cryptographer and one of the pioneers of public-key cryptography along with Martin Hellman and Ralph Merkle)
Whitfield Diffie
2
Birthdate: June 5, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
 44 
Edmund McMillen
(Video game developer, Computer scientist)
Edmund McMillen
3
Birthdate: March 2, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Santa Cruz
 45 
Ivan Sutherland
(Computer scientist)
Ivan Sutherland
4
Birthdate: May 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hastings, Nebraska, United States
 46 
Ward Cunningham
(Programmer, Computer scientist)
Ward Cunningham
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: United States of America
 47 
Max Levchin
(Co-founder and Former Chief Technical Officer of 'PayPal')
Max Levchin
7
Birthdate: July 11, 1975
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kyiv, Ukraine

Max Levchin is a Ukrainian-American businessman and software engineer. He is credited with co-founding a company named Confinity which eventually became PayPal. Levchin is renowned for making an immense contribution to the company's anti-fraud efforts. Max Levchin is also credited with co-founding or founding companies like Affirm, HVF, and Slide.com.

 48 
Charles Simonyi
(Astronaut, Computer scientist, Engineer, Scientist, Programmer)
Charles Simonyi
3
Birthdate: September 10, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Budapest

A Stanford PhD, Charles Simonyi initially worked on one of the world’s first computers for Xerox. He is best known for developing Microsoft Office. Though he launched his own firm, Intentional Software, he later sold it to Microsoft. Part of the Forbes Billionaires 2021 list, he also donates extensively to educational charitable causes.

 49 
Daniel Kottke
(Computer scientist, Engineer)
Daniel Kottke
3
Birthdate: April 4, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bronxville
 50 
Hilary Putnam
(Mathematician, Philosopher)
Hilary Putnam
3
Birthdate: July 31, 1926
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 13, 2016