Hall of fame



  • Another discussion in this form about famous persons in history made me think of a more appropriate topic for this forum.

    The other day, my nine-year old daughter had to turn in a paper about what it's like to do a particular job. Aptly, she choose the profession of her dad: software developer. After explaining her about why I spend so much time staring at the void, she asked me "Can you tell me about a famous programmer". That left me speechless for a moment. I mean, how many programmers enjoy the kind of fame that would appeal to the public in general, and to nine year olds in particular?

    The first answer that came to my mind was (gulp)... Bill Gates. After all, the guy started out as a programmer, I believe he wrote the DOS BASIC interpreter and rumour has it he wrote the Calculator desktop accessory for the first Mac, although I find that hard to believe. Anyways he calls himself a chief software engineer, so he's proud of his roots and certainly enjoys widespread fame.

    That answer was not quite compatible with my professional pride, however, so I finally settled for Linus Torvalds, whom she obviously had never heard of, but I could at least make an understable case of why he's somewhat famous.

    My question for this forum is: who would you nominate for the programmer's hall of fame, and why?



  • Bill Gates, Edward Djikstra, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Grady Booch, Erich Gamma 

     

    Programmers are doing pretty well as far as fame goes.  We have at least 1 household name, and I think most people know who Steve Jobs is.



  • I wouldn't qualify Steve Jobs as a programmer, but he's a great enabler of the likes of

    - Bill Atkinson: programmed most of the original Mac OS

    - Avi Tevanian: created thee NeXT OS, now known as Max OS X



  • Found at /.

    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/10/10/031226

    names Linus Torvalds (Linux), Bjarne Stroustrup (C++), James Gosling (Java), Tim Bray (XML, Atom), Guido Van Rossum (Python), Dave Thomas (Pragmatic Programmer), David Heinemeier Hansson (Rails Framework), and Googlers Steve Yegge and Peter Norvig
     



  • Your daughter might like learning about Grace Hopper.



  • Such a compilation can not be complete without Ada Lovelace.
     



  • Richard Stallman, Larry Wall



  • Why Alan Kay, Donald Knuth, John Mc Carthy and Steve Russell of course (plus Steve Russell is also the creator of Spacewar, you can hardly get any better ;)



  • I would pick Grace Hopper or Ada Lovelace (both already mentioned here).  They both have interesting stories.

    Ada Lovelace is a programmer only in the sense that she wrote a few theoretical programs for a machine that was never completed, but if it had been completed it would have been the first digital computer.  It would also have been the first microprogrammed computer (there was a lower layer, mechanically programmed, that interpreted the opcodes of the main program), the first stored-program computer, and the first computer to use punched cards.  Her story is also an interesting look at the problems of educated women in the 19th century.

    There is plenty of material available about Grace Hopper.  In talking about herself she tended to minimize her contribution to computing, but she really does stand out as an innovator.  She had plenty to say about how programmers actually work.  It was she who said "It is always easier to apologize afterward than to get permission beforehand."

    Bill Gates did some software development long ago, but he is not a typical programmer.  His story is that of an entrepreneur.

     



  • @masklinn said:

    Why Alan Kay, Donald Knuth, John Mc Carthy and Steve Russell of course (plus Steve Russell is also the creator of Spacewar, you can hardly get any better ;)

    What has Donald Knuth contributed to this world? (Besides that sour face of his.) 

    The Man


  • @CPound said:

    What has Donald Knuth contributed to this world? (Besides that sour face of his.) 

    He has an awesome organ. 

    His Organ



  • John Carmack, for causing me to waste so much of my younger life :)



  • @CPound said:

    @masklinn said:

    Why Alan Kay, Donald Knuth, John Mc Carthy and Steve Russell of course (plus Steve Russell is also the creator of Spacewar, you can hardly get any better ;)

    What has Donald Knuth contributed to this world? (Besides that sour face of his.) 

    The Man

    Come on, now, Donald.  We all know it's actually you hiding behind CPound's alias.  I've been reading your posts for quite a while now, and let's just say you should stop fishing for complements.



  • @kasm said:

    John Carmack, for causing me to waste so much of my younger life :)

    i was wondering when someone was going to bring him up. :-)

    I'd say that as far as kids are concerned, they should all bow to him.



  • @CPound said:

    @masklinn said:

    Why Alan Kay, Donald Knuth, John Mc Carthy and Steve Russell of course (plus Steve Russell is also the creator of Spacewar, you can hardly get any better ;)

    What has Donald Knuth contributed to this world? (Besides that sour face of his.) 

    The Man

    Major contributions to the field of algorithmics in the 60s and 70s including but not limited to TAOCP (for which he was awarded the first Grace Murray Hopper Award in 71), contributions for which he won the Turing Award 1974, TeX (the first high-guality digital typesetting system) as well as the vector-font defining programming language METAFONT, plus the "Computers and Typesetting" book; and some other minor stuff (such as inventing the concept of literate programming)



  • Paula Bean.

    More seriously, looking through all of the names above, I doubt that more than 5% of people would know any of them other than Bill. Even then, most people probably don't even know he is/was a developer, and if pushed would probably hazard a guess "did he write Windows?" He's famous for his bank account, not his mastery of pointers.

     Really though, we should be glad that there's even one or two. The vast majority of professions don't even have a single "celebrity" known outside of their own circles, never have, and probably never will.

    It's just not a "sexy" career. 



  • Nice choice of tags


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