Famous British Computer Scientists

Find out more about the greatest British Computer Scientists, including Alan Turing, Tim Berners-Lee, Mark Shuttleworth, Kevin Warwick and Stephen Wolfram.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite British Computer Scientists

 1 
Alan Turing
(Father of Theoretical Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence)

Alan Turing
48
Birthdate: June 23, 1912
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Maida Vale, London, England
Died: June 7, 1954

Regarded as the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, Alan Turing was a distinguished mathematician and logician. During WWII, he successfully broke the challenging German Enigma machine codes thereby reducing the duration of war by a couple of years. The scientist, who was convicted for being gay, has been an inspiration for numerous films, plays and novels.

 2 
Charles Babbage
(Father of the computer)

Charles Babbage
6
Birthdate: December 26, 1791
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 18, 1871
Charles Babbage, or the “father of the computer,” invented the prototype of the world’s first mechanical calculator, the Difference Engine. With the help of mathematician Ada Lovelace, he also created the Analytical Engine, the first general-purpose computer and a precursor of the modern computer, with its looping and sequential mechanism.

 3 
Tim Berners-Lee
(Inventor of the World Wide Web)

Tim Berners-Lee
28
Birthdate: June 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England

Widely known as ten inventor of the world wide web, Tim Berners-Lee made the first communication between an HTTP client and server through the internet in 1989. He is associated with various organizations, such as the W3C and the World Wide Web Foundation, and has received the knighthood, too.

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 4 
Tony Hoare
(Computer scientist)

Tony Hoare
7
Birthdate: January 11, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Colombo, Sri Lanka

Tony Hoare is a British computer scientist who is credited with developing the sorting algorithm quicksort. He is also credited with developing Hoare logic, a formal system for verifying program correctness. Over the years, Tony Hoare has received several prestigious awards for his contribution to computer science.

 5 
Geoffrey Hinton
(Computer scientist)

Geoffrey Hinton
7
Birthdate: December 6, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wimbledon

After gaining a degree in psychology, Geoffrey Hinton earned a PhD in artificial intelligence. The Google VP is a Turing Award-winning computer scientist and also teaches at the University of Toronto. A Fellow of the Royal Society, he has revolutionized neural network research and has co-written about 200 papers.

 6 
Sophie Wilson
(computer scientist)

Sophie Wilson
7
Birthdate: 1957 AD
Birthplace: Leeds

The brain behind the Acorn Micro-Computer, Sophie Wilson also contributed to the BBC Micro and ARM architecture. During her first summer vacation at Cambridge, she designed an automated cow-feeder. Born Roger Wilson, she went through a sex-change surgery in 1994. She is also associated with local theater groups.

 7 
Clive Sinclair
(Entrepreneur, Engineer, Inventor, Computer scientist)

Clive Sinclair
5
Birthdate: July 30, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Surrey

A consumer electronics pioneer, entrepreneur Clive Sinclair began his business venture selling radio and amplifier kits. He went on to launch the word’s first pocket calculator and later also worked on products such as digital watches and pocket TV. He is a fan of poker and is a Mensa member.

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 8 
Mark Shuttleworth
(Entrepreneur, Astronaut, Engineer, Inventor, Scientist, Blogger, Businessperson, Computer scientist)

Mark Shuttleworth
7
Birthdate: September 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Welkom

Mark Shuttleworth is a South African-British entrepreneur. He is credited with founding Canonical, the company that developed the popular Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. Mark Shuttleworth became the first African from an independent country and the first South African to travel to space; he traveled as a space tourist in 2002.

 9 
Stephen Wolfram
(Mathematician, Physicist, Computer scientist, Businessperson, University teacher, Patent inventor, Writer)

Stephen Wolfram
10
Birthdate: August 29, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London

Stephen Wolfram is a British-American computer scientist, physicist, and businessman, best known for his work in computer science, mathematics, and theoretical physics. He is a  fellow of the American Mathematical Society. As a businessman, he is the founder and CEO of Wolfram Research, a software company. 

 10 
Michael Moritz
(Computer scientist)

Michael Moritz
5
Birthdate: September 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Cardiff

Welsh venture capitalist and former journalist Michael Moritz was earlier associated with Time as a writer. Now a partner at Sequoia Capital, he has invested in and been part of the boards of organizations such as Google, PayPal, and Yahoo. He penned The Little Kingdom, the first-known history of Apple.

 11 
Kevin Warwick
(Engineer, Writer, University teacher, Computer scientist)

Kevin Warwick
5
Birthdate: February 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Coventry

A professor at the Coventry and Reading universities, engineer Kevin Warwicke specializes in artificial intelligence, robotics, and biomedical engineering. One of his most interesting research interests is the possibility of creating cyborgs, which has earned him the nickname Captain Cyborg. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from several universities.

 12 
Martin Fowler
(Software Developer)

Martin Fowler
5
Birthdate: 1963 AD
Birthplace: Walsall, United Kingdom

Software engineer Martin Fowler, who works as a chief scientist at ThoughtWorks, has also penned numerous books on software development, such as Refactoring and The Adventures of Dai Dreaming. He was one of the signatories of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and runs a bliki.

 13 
Edgar F. Codd
(Computer scientist)

Edgar F. Codd
5
Birthdate: August 19, 1923
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fortuneswell, England
Died: April 18, 2003

Turing Award-winning computer scientist Edgar F. Codd is best remembered for his relational data model, which contributed to the development of the relational database used in storing and retrieving computer data. An Oxford graduate, he had also worked for the army during World War II.

 14 
Tommy Flowers
(Technician, Engineer, Computer scientist)

Tommy Flowers
4
Birthdate: December 22, 1905
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Poplar
Died: October 28, 1998

Born to a bricklayer in London’s East End, Tommy Flowers completed his studies in electrical engineering attending night classes while working as an apprentice during the day. He developed Max Newman’s model of a machine that had the potential to decipher German codes and turned it into his Colossus computer.

 15 
Steve Shirley
(Computer scientist, Feminist)

Steve Shirley
4
Birthdate: September 16, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dortmund

Born Vera Buchthal, Steve Shirley moved from Germany to Britain as a child refugee during the Nazi regime. Later, going by the name Stephanie Brook, she began learning coding. Battling a male-dominated workplace environment, she changed her name to Steve. The celebrated scientist now runs a charitable foundation.

 16 
Leslie Valiant
(Computer scientist)

Leslie Valiant
3
Birthdate: March 28, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Budapest, Hungary

 17 
Jeff Minter
(Programmer, Engineer, Computer scientist)

Jeff Minter
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1962
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Reading

Known as Yak on all online forums, video-game designer and programmer Jeff Minter is also the founder of Llamasoft. His games often include characters such as llamas and camels and a healthy dose of psychedelics. He has also appeared in the movie Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

 18 
David J. C. MacKay
(Physicist, Computer scientist, Professor)

David J. C. MacKay
4
Birthdate: April 22, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent
Died: April 14, 2016

David J. C. MacKay was a British mathematician, physicist, and academic. He studied at the University of Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology. As an academic, he served as the Regius Professor of Engineering in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). 

 19 
Stuart J. Russell
(scientist, computer scientist, engineer, university teacher)

Stuart J. Russell
4
Birthdate: 1962 AD
Birthplace: Portsmouth

 20 
I. J. Good
(Mathematician, Cryptographer, Computer scientist, Philosopher, Statistician, University teacher)

I. J. Good
4
Birthdate: December 9, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London
Died: April 5, 2009

 21 
Donald Davies
(Computer Scientist)

Donald Davies
4
Birthdate: June 7, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Treorchy, Wales
Died: May 28, 2000

 22 
Alan Cox
(Programmer, Blogger, Computer scientist)

Alan Cox
4
Birthdate: July 22, 1968
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Solihull

 23 
Adam Osborne
(He introduced the Osborne 1, the first commercially successful portable computer)

Adam Osborne
3
Birthdate: March 6, 1939
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand
Died: March 18, 2003

 24 
David Wheeler
(Former Computer scientist known for Burrows–Wheeler transform (BWT), Tiny Encryption Algorithm, Wheeler Jump, WAKE, EDSAC)

David Wheeler
1
Birthdate: February 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Died: December 13, 2004

 25 
Maurice Wilkes
(Computer Scientist)

Maurice Wilkes
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1913
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dudley, Worcestershire, England
Died: November 29, 2010

British computer scientist Sir Maurice Vincent Wilkes is noted for constructing the early British computer Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC) and for inventing microprogramming. He designed and helped build the EDSAC, one of the earliest stored program computers which became a full-scale operational computer. The concept of microprogramming developed by him also greatly simplified the development of CPU.

 26 
Simon Peyton Jones
(Computer scientist)

Simon Peyton Jones
1
Birthdate: January 18, 1958
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: South Africa

 27 
Tom Kilburn
(Computer scientist)

Tom Kilburn
0
Birthdate: August 11, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Yorkshire, England
Died: January 17, 2001

 28 
Nigel Shadbolt
(Professor)

Nigel Shadbolt
0
Birthdate: April 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England

 29 
Robin Milner
(Computer Scientist)

Robin Milner
1
Birthdate: January 13, 1934
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yealmpton, England, United Kingdom
Died: March 20, 2010

 30 
Roger Needham
(Computer Scientist)

Roger Needham
0
Birthdate: February 9, 1935
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sheffield, England
Died: March 1, 2003

 31 
Steve Grand
(Computer scientist)

Steve Grand
0
Birthdate: February 12, 1958
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: United Kingdom

 32 
Nigel Roberts
(Computer scientist who founded the Island Networks group of companies including CHANNELISLES.NET, the registry operator of the .gg and .je top level domains for Guernsey and Jersey)

Nigel Roberts
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

 33 
Michael Fourman
(Computer Scientist)

Michael Fourman
0
Birthdate: September 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oxford, England

 34 
David Caminer
(Computer Scientist)

David Caminer
0
Birthdate: June 26, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 19, 2008

 35 
Austin Tate
(Computer scientist)

Austin Tate
0
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Knottingley, England

 36 
Chrisanthi Avgerou
(Computer scientist)

Chrisanthi Avgerou
0
Birthdate: 1954 AD
Birthplace: Greece

Born in Greece, Chrisanthi Avgerou later pursued her studies and research work in information systems in England. The LSE alumna is now a professor at the same institute. She is known for her research on the role of ICT in bringing about organizational change and socio-economic development.