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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Computer programmer and free-software activist Richard Stallman established the Free Software Foundation. The Harvard and MIT alumnus led the free GNU project, aimed at creating a UNIX-like operating system. He was later dragged into a controversy when he dismissed a sexual assault victim’s allegation against Jeffrey Epstein.
11 Michael Dell
Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell became Forbes’s Richest Person in America’s 50 Largest Cities in 2016. Pushed into joining the pre-medical course at the University of Texas by his parents, he dropped out eventually to form a business of selling computers. He soon became the youngest Fortune 500 CEO.
12 Ray Kurzweil
Ray Kurzweil is an American futurist and inventor best known for his work in fields like optical character recognition, speech recognition technology, and text-to-speech synthesis. A proponent of life extension technologies and robotics, Kurzweil was honored with the National Medal of Technology and Innovation in 1999. In 2002, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
14 John Carmack
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.
15 Tony Hsieh
Tony Hsieh showed his entrepreneurial spirit since his Harvard days, when he managed a pizza delivery outlet for his dorm. He later founded the Las Vegas-based online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos. He tragically died from smoke inhalation at a house fire during Thanksgiving, shortly before turning 47.
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.
17 George Hotz
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.
18 Alan Kay
19 Andrew Ng
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.
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.
Former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty was named to the World's Top 50 Women in Tech by Forbes in 2018. She led IBM through its conversion to a leading data company. The Northwestern University alumna has also earned the Edison Achievement Award. She became part of Time 100 in 2012.
22 Jaron Lanier
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.
24 Andy Rubin
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.
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.
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.
30 Max Levchin
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.
Randall Munroe quit his career as a NASA roboticist to re-live his childhood obsession with comics by creating the award-winning webcomic xkcd. He also writes a science blog and has penned New York Times bestsellers such as What If? and Thing Explainer. His other interests include kite photography.