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Darren Waters

Who's who of technology

  • Darren Waters
  • 21 Jan 08, 10:52 GMT

Who are the 45 most important figures in technology over the last 100 years?

I ask because I'm going to be discussing that question tomorrow as part of an Intel event marking the roll-out of its 45-nanometre chips.

It's a big question and a lot of names spring to mind. Handily, Intel has sent participating journalists a suggested long-list, which is designed to help us choose our final 45. Bill Gates

The list has a lot of the usual suspects: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, William Hewlett and Dave Packard.

It also has some younger upstarts: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), Shawn Fanning (Napster creator), Philip Rosedale (Second Life) and Jonathan Ive (iPod, iMac designer).

But would you include Richard Branson, Charles Dunstone (Carphone Warehouse chief executive), Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari) or Nikolas Zennstrom (founder of Skype)?

I'd love to hear your suggestions of who should or should not make the final list.

I'll come back with the list that was agreed on by Wednesday morning.

Comments

From a purely British perspective I would have to include Sir Clive Sinclair. With the ZX81 and particularly the Spectrum he allowed the computer to enter our homes and with BASIC taught a generation the 'joys' of programming.

Tim Berners-Lee?

A few less than obvious ones

Charles Babbage - Not really in the last century but without his vision where might we be?

Alan Turing & Colosuss - And for that matter the inventor of the enigma for making encryption very hard to crack.

Lydon B Johnson - yes the American president for standardising the use of ASCII across all US computers

Clive Sinclair - Obviously

The head of marketing at Apple - for convincing us all that whatever they do is invented by themselves and much better than everyone else

Mark Shuttleworth - For putting his money where his mouth is with Linux (Ubuntu)

Narinder Singh Kapany - Pioneer in this centuries development of fibre optics (according to Wikipedia!)Without which the reference probably wouldn't exist.

  • 4.
  • At 12:09 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Stuart Miller wrote:

A few suggestions:

Alan Turing - inventor of the Bombe at Bletchley Park to crack Enigma.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee - inventor of the World Wide Web.
John Logie Baird - inventor of television.

  • 5.
  • At 12:18 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Alex wrote:

Prof. Steve Furber - for his for with processor design, as if been part of the design team for the BBC Micro wasn't enough.

Bill Gates - Regardless of how evil you might percieve microsoft, he was ahead of the curve in understanding the appeal of computers as a tool on a desk, rather than having a working environment to support the computer.

Tim Berners-Lee - For his work in helping design what would later explode into the internet.

  • 6.
  • At 12:22 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • ONG wrote:

Frank Whittle
Stanley Hooker
TOM Sopwith
Werner Von Braun

...and many hundreds of others who would come before the guy who dreamt up facebook

  • 7.
  • At 12:23 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Pyers Symon wrote:

As technology is not limited to computing/IT (contrary to popular belief) why not include people like Frank Whittle (jet engine), Geoffrey Hounsfield (CAT scanner) or Kary Mullis (DNA amplification technology)...

Linus Torvalds - Creator of what may become the most popular operating system on the planet if future versions of the Windows OS continue to be as popular as Vista.

  • 9.
  • At 12:26 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • ken james wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee - without whom we wouldn't be having this discussion

  • 10.
  • At 12:28 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • James Searby wrote:

Tim Berners - Lee (founder of the modern day internet), surely?

  • 11.
  • At 12:28 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

A glaringly obvious one: Sir Tim Berners Lee.

  • 12.
  • At 12:28 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Pete wrote:

The most important are Kilby and Noyce, the 2 American engineers who btween them invented the integrated circuit (silicon chip) without which none of the modern electronics would exist.

  • 13.
  • At 12:28 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Mikey wrote:

I'd like to nominate Clive Sinclair and Alan Sugar for innovation and marketing, thereby enabling micro-computing to develope and become widely and economically accessible and available to home users.

  • 14.
  • At 12:29 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Dan wrote:

Ken Thompson & Dennis Ritchie - Founders of the very powerful & very common UNIX Operating System as well as other programming inventions

  • 15.
  • At 12:29 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Mike Gormley wrote:

It seemed too obvious to miss out but I thought I'd mention Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web.

Also Tim O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, thought by many to be the best computer book publisher in the world.

  • 16.
  • At 12:30 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • James Searby wrote:

Tim Berners - Lee (founder of the modern day internet), surely?

  • 17.
  • At 12:31 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Ben wrote:

Sir Tim Berners-Lee - Invertor of the web! By web I mean the world wide web, the website, the server & the browser. Too often overlooked.

  • 18.
  • At 12:31 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • mike jones wrote:

I would have thought it was obvious.

How about the mane who actually invented what most people call the internet but is really the World Wide Web. A man who has had very little recognition. Tim Berners-Lee - the British genius nobody has heard of!

  • 19.
  • At 12:31 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Jenna wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee, because without him we wouldn't have Facebook or Second Life or anything else.

  • 20.
  • At 12:32 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Mikey wrote:

The BBC micro-computer.

  • 21.
  • At 12:34 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Peter Malsbury wrote:

What about the guys at Manchester University who built the first programmable computer, or, the inventor of the transistor, the integrated circuit etc.

Ultimately it is a story of science and technology. The business men with clever ideas of how to make use of the technology are essentially only parasites (or symbionts if you want to be generous). If they hadn't come along someone else would.

  • 22.
  • At 12:34 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • derek wrote:

Tommy Flowers who designed and built Colosuss

  • 23.
  • At 12:35 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • zippy483 wrote:

Jack Kilby the inventor of the integrated circuit.

Shockley, Bardeen and Bratain for the invention of the transistor.

Tim Berners Lee for the invention of the World Wide Web without which this discussion would not be taking place.

  • 24.
  • At 12:36 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew Pepper wrote:

For what it's worth, here's my list of 20 odd:

First of all, the pioneers of the TCP/IP protocols:
Robert E. Kahn
Vinton Cerf


Inventor behind the transistor and high speed logic:
Robert Shockley

Founders of Intel:
Robert Noyce
Gordon Moore

Founders of Microsoft:
Bill Gates
Paul Allen

Inventor of Electronic Television:
Philo Farnsworth

Inventors of the C Programming language (pretty much all of Windows, Linux, MacOS and Unix and most of the applications that run on them are written in C or C derived languages):
Dennis Richie
Brian Kernighan

Inventor of Unix:
Ken Thompson

Principle programmer for Microsoft:
Charles Simonyi

Leader of the team that developed the first "modern" workstation:
Alan Kay

Founders of Apple:
Steve Jobs
Steve Wozniak

Leader of team behind original IBM PC:
Don Estridge

Founder of commodore, designer of 6502 and behind 68000:
Chuck Peddle

Founders of MITS (who produced first personal computer and gave Microsoft their first break):
Forrest Mims
Ed Roberts

Super computer designer:
Seymour Cray

Inventor of the hard drive:
Reynold B. Johnson

And finally, the godfathers of information theory and the modern computer:
Alan Turing
John von Neumann

  • 25.
  • At 12:36 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Frank Johnston wrote:

It depends if you're interested in businessmen, or technical gurus. They aren't the same. Famously, Steve Jobs can only just hold a soldering iron and isn't a coder, while Bill Gates is known to be only just competent when it comes to coding (Google the MS Basic game "Donkey" for more info).

My "people of interest":

Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie -- inventors of Unix, without which this website wouldn't be here, and there would be no Linux or OS X

Burrell Smith and Andy Hertzfeld -- the hardware and software gurus behind the original Macintosh in 1984, although other people were involved -- see folklore.org; no Macintosh, no Windows, and we'd all be using DOS right now

Jack Tramiel -- head of Commodore and Atari (at various times) and responsible for much of the revolution in personal computing.

Steve Wozniak -- one of the original founders of Apple, and sole creator of the Apple II computer, another revolutionary computing item; he emphasised the fun in personal computing

Gary Kildall -- inventor of CP/M, without which there would be no MS DOS, and therefore no Microsoft

Tim Berners Lee -- inventor of the Web (NOT the Internet!), although really Bill Atkinson came up with Hypercard first (and was also one of the original Mac developers -- see above)

I needn't mention Richard Stallman, because a million other people will, but personally I think his input is overrated. And Linus Torvalds, for pretty much the same reason.


  • 26.
  • At 12:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • matt wrote:

echoing the previous comment, John Von Neuman made fundamental contributions to the theory of modern computing, and the oft-overlooked Claude Shannon who invented the thoery of channel capacity that underpins all modern communications really deserves a mention.

also, how about Linus Torsvald, the originator of Linux? if Gates is on the list he definitely deserves a mention.

  • 27.
  • At 12:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Dave Springall wrote:

It's just a marketing event, so not really a definitive list, but I hope they've included Tim Berners-Lee.

  • 28.
  • At 12:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Michelle wrote:

You should consider the contribution from Admiral Grace Hopper of the US Navy. Remarkable woman!

  • 29.
  • At 12:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • jerry wrote:

Vint Cerf - developed the IP protocols on which the internet is based.

Nolan Bushnell - developed the first video game (and founded Atari computers )- leading to computer graphics developments

Harry Nyquist - fundamental work in digital coding

  • 30.
  • At 12:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Jon-Paul wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee is a must.

  • 31.
  • At 12:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • John wrote:

If you want to put Steve Jobs in the list, then you have to include his Co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak (Sorry, don't know if that's the right spelling!) Steve Jobs certainly knows how to sell and market, but it was Woz who was the technical genius behind AppleII.
And who was the guy that founded Intel?? He should be there too!

  • 32.
  • At 12:38 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Nick Brigden wrote:

Has to be Bob Taylor, a man without whom we probably wouldn't have the Internet. He worked at ARPA and Xerox PARC, inventing many of the technologies we use daily today (ethernet, mouse, windows etc).
Also on the Internet front, Donald Davies, Robert Baran, Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Calliau all deserve a mention.

An essential member of this list should be Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, without whose pioneering work on the precursor to the World Wide Web at CERN and susequently. Where would we be without it?

  • 34.
  • At 12:38 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Susan Anderson wrote:

Crikey! How is it that the name of Tim Berners-Lee isn't at the top of your list?!

  • 35.
  • At 12:38 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

Possibly Alan Sugar? amstrad were big, back in the day.

Albert Fert and Peter Gr├╝nberg for the discovery of GMR (Giant Magnetoresistance), so vital to modern hard drives.

The founder of Starbucks for keeping us geeks caffeined up.

  • 36.
  • At 12:38 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Ben Walmisley wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee - the WWW.

Ted Nelson - for trying to drive hypertext forward.

Ken Thompson\Dennis Ritchie for UNIX - and without UNIX, no Linux, no stable web servers etc.

And a few slightly more obvious ones:

Bjarne Stroustrup, the father of C++
James Gosling, the father of Java
Linus Torvalds, OS-developer and penguin-lover
Richard Stallman, for the creation of Free Software and the spectacular beard

I can't believe you didn't mention Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

He invented this Internet thing that everybody seems to be going on about these days.

  • 39.
  • At 12:40 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Simon Tamman wrote:

The most recent should only be:

Tim Burners Lee - For obvious reasons.
Linus Torvolds - pioneer of the first widespread open source os (Bill wasn't really pioneering new ground with Windows).
Shawn Fanning - Napster was basically the death knell for the record companies. In terms of impact that has a lot of consequences internationally and across other industries. It's also the main use of most home users for their machines.

The other choices (IMO) should all be more old skool tech, going back to the first computer.
Babbage is good and all but he is a leaf and is therefore not influential. I'm pretty sure the people who made the first proper computer weren't thinking about him.

  • 40.
  • At 12:41 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Justin Champagne wrote:

You surely must have Tim Berners Lee - founder/inventor of the World Wide Web.
What about Michael Dell? One of the major drivers of bringing down cost of PC's through supply chain management and innovation and building a $60bn company in a little over 20 years.

  • 41.
  • At 12:42 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Tiffanie Wells wrote:

Linus Torvalds for Linux and Richard Stallman for the for Free Software Foundation and how they both opened up software to every person from every walk of life.

  • 42.
  • At 12:42 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Matthew wrote:

Surely Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, made the single most important contribution. And he's British too.

  • 43.
  • At 12:43 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Behn K wrote:

Clive Sinclair.

Steve Furber, designer of the BBC micro, brought computers to the masses too, and also started the development of the ARM chip that is now found in almost every portable device.

Pacman - The character that introduced the masses to the idea of computer entertainment.

The populations of India, China and any other developing asian country - Who else would provide us with a limited amount of customer service

  • 44.
  • At 12:43 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Ayse wrote:

How about Tim Berners-Lee... where would we be without the internet?

  • 45.
  • At 12:43 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Kate wrote:

Gordon Gould, inventor of the laser. Fibre optic communications, CD, DVD, holography, barcodes, surgery, eyesight correction etc.

John Bardeen, Walter H. Brattain and William Shockley, inventors of the transistor. I doubt anyone mentioned in the article above would be particularly noteworthy if we were still using vacuum tubes...

I can't believe you didn't mention Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

He invented this Internet thing that everybody seems to be going on about these days.

  • 47.
  • At 12:44 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

I think you may be missing the fact that Alan Turing didn't build Colossus, Tommy Flowers did.

As I understand it; Alan Turing was behind the maths that broke the codes. Colossus, and its predecessor, Robinson, were machines that sped up those maths calculations - Colossus dramatically so. It was Colossus that was the first electronic computer and it was designed and built by Tommy Flowers.

  • 48.
  • At 12:48 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Tracey wrote:

Uhmm...Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA who invented the World Wide Web.

Who is the most important figure over the past 100 years?

1. You/Me: Technology has grown in such a way that it is the user who actually can largely determine use or functionality
2. Anyone/Everyone: Who had a hand in shaping technology in such a way that the user has choices this would include the Mark Shuttleworth's and Bill Gates - in their respective ways

  • 50.
  • At 12:50 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • pauls wrote:

Heres another vote for Mark Shuttleworth.

Add Linus and Richard Stallman. Without them my intense interest in computers would have been far to expensive to follow.

I would have thought Tim Berners Lee.

He practically invented the internet!

  • 52.
  • At 12:50 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Scott Armitage wrote:

"Alan Turing & Colosuss - And for that matter the inventor of the enigma for making encryption very hard to crack."

If my computing history serves me correct Tommy Flowers deserves the credit here.

However I would also add Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. Without them who knows how we (the general public and not just GCHQ) would exchange secret information.

  • 53.
  • At 12:51 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Stephen Brown wrote:

How about Orville and Wilbur Wright? Air travel must be a defining techhnology for the last 100 years.

And James Watson and Francis Crick? Ditto for bio-technology, especially in recent years.

  • 54.
  • At 12:52 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Tracey wrote:

Uhmm...Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA who invented the World Wide Web.

Who is the most important figure over the past 100 years?

1. You/Me: Technology has grown in such a way that it is the user who actually can largely determine use or functionality
2. Anyone/Everyone: Who had a hand in shaping technology in such a way that the user has choices this would include the Mark Shuttleworths and Bill Gates - in their respective ways

  • 56.
  • At 12:52 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Tom Burke wrote:

In technology as a whole? Well, the Wright brothers ought to be in there, as has Sir Frank Whittle.

  • 57.
  • At 12:52 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Matt Whitby wrote:

I'd agree with Turing and Babbage and would add John von Neumann to the list.

  • 58.
  • At 12:54 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • seth wrote:

Turing's a given, I'd imagine.

I'd nominate Larry Wall; perl's rather unfashionable these days, but the impact it had on bioinformatics (and the human genome project in particular) was immense and will be felt for decades to come.

Outside the obvious candidates; what about porn's role in the availability of high-bandwidth ISPs - Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy, perhaps?

  • 59.
  • At 12:54 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

I agree with Alex, especially Alan Turing and the team at Station X. Anyone who has spent time at Bletchley Park will realise what we owe to these unsung heroes - I wonder if the 'usual suspects' would have been happy being quite so unsung.

  • 60.
  • At 12:55 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Roger Barbour wrote:

I suggest Sir Tim Berners-Lee who invented the world wide web. We could not be having this discussion if it weren't for him! More importantly the WWW has enabled a transformation in the way we learn and communicate and in the way that we do business.

  • 61.
  • At 12:55 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Anthony Slack wrote:

What about some of the amazing Asian entrepreneurs? Sony, Nintendo, Acer, etc. Also, people behind key technologies which have enabled the technology revolution - CRT; LCD; HDD
From the UK: Andrew Hopper & Hermann Hauser of Acorn; Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry of ARM; David Potter of Psion (& Symbian)

  • 62.
  • At 12:56 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Nick wrote:

Who invented the silicon transistor? I would have thought they would have been key to an event tied to the roll out of a 45 nanometer chip.

  • 63.
  • At 12:56 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Rob wrote:

Has anyone mentioned Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee? All he did was invent the World Wide Web.
He's way more influential than Microsoft and Apple put together!

  • 64.
  • At 12:56 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Aly wrote:


Hackers Crackers

I think a guy from Pakistan the world first hacker who let the technology think about their importance- He is the pioneer of the security and networks.

  • 65.
  • At 12:56 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Scott Armitage wrote:

"Alan Turing & Colosuss - And for that matter the inventor of the enigma for making encryption very hard to crack."

If my computing history serves me correct Tommy Flowers deserves the credit here.

However I would also add Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman. Without them who knows how we would exchange secret information.

  • 66.
  • At 12:57 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Linus Torvalds
Without whom there'd be no Linux kernel

Richard Stallman
Without his seminal and steadfast influence there'd be no open source movement

Sir Tim Berners Lee - "father of the web"

Alan Turing - apart from the computing contribution, his work at Bletchley helped changed world history

Messrs Kernighan, Ritchie, Weinberger... fathers of Unix & C

Messrs Diffie, Helman, Rivest, Shamir, Adelman... [plus the earlier, unnamed staff at GCHQ who did the same work] for their work in public key
encryption to enable online banking / trading to become a reality

  • 67.
  • At 12:57 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Duncan Wells wrote:

I agree with Alex. Alan Turing should be at the top of the list. Although, a troubled soul, his work was essential to the state of computers & cryptology today.

You should also include Tim Berner-Lee as his brainchild (WWW) has developed into huge phenomenon.

  • 68.
  • At 12:57 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Stephen Brown wrote:

How about Orville and Wilbur Wright? Air travel must be a defining techhnology for the last 100 years.

And James Watson and Francis Crick? Ditto for bio-technology, especially in recent years.

  • 69.
  • At 12:58 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Rob wrote:

Has anyone mentioned Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee? All he did was invent the World Wide Web.
He's way more influential than Microsoft and Apple put together!

  • 70.
  • At 12:58 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Matt Whitby wrote:

I'd agree with Turing and Babbage and would add John von Neumann to the list.

I think the biggest names all hail from the early to mid 70's.

All of those people had the vision to see where all of this was going.

  • 72.
  • At 12:59 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Annie wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee for creating the www.

  • 73.
  • At 12:59 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Barry Horton wrote:

Thomas Merrill, Lawrence G. Roberts and Leonard Kleinrock for their pioneering work on packet switching which without we would not have had the Internet as it is today.

  • 74.
  • At 12:59 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

I agree with Alex, especially Alan Turing and the team at Station X. Anyone who has spent time at Bletchley Park will realise what we owe to these unsung heroes - I wonder if the 'usual suspects' would have been happy being quite so unsung.

  • 75.
  • At 12:59 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Electric Dragon wrote:

Errm, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web? Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley, who invented the semiconducting transistor? Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux (which runs most of the Web)? Gordon Moore, pioneering co-founder of Intel and man behind the eponymous Moore's Law? Fert and Gruenberg for the discovery of Giant Magnetoresistance (enabling far denser data storage: huge hard disks for PCs or tiny disks for MP3 players)? Dave Winer et al. for RSS?

I wouldn't include Zuckerberg: Facebook is very much a product rather than a technology. It wasn't the first social network - MySpace was surely earlier, and others earlier still. In ten years time, will Facebook still be around, or will they be a footnote to history in the same way that AltaVista are now? Similarly Second Life - surely Everquest/World of Warcraft should be ahead of them? (or alternatively Jarkko Oikarinen for inventing IRC, the original chat system).

  • 76.
  • At 12:59 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Nick wrote:

Who invented the silicon transistor? I would have thought they would have been key to an event tied to the roll out of a 45 nanometer chip.

  • 77.
  • At 12:59 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • david payne wrote:

John logey Baird - TV and Radar
Jack Kilby - Silicone Chip
Nick Holonyack - LED
Blitzer and Slottow - Plasma Technology

  • 78.
  • At 12:59 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Roger Barbour wrote:

I suggest Sir Tim Berners-Lee who invented the world wide web. We could not be having this discussion if it weren't for him! More importantly the WWW has enabled a transformation in the way we learn and communicate and in the way that we do business.

I would have thought Tim Berners Lee.

He practically invented the internet!

  • 80.
  • At 12:59 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • James wrote:

Sir Maurice Wilkes is probably one of the most important Computer Scientists since the war.

He is credited with the first implementation of microprogramming, the ideas of symbolic labels, macro's and sub-routine libraries. All of these have made significant contributions to current design of high level programming languages.

He also did extensive work on timesharing systems and distributed computing.

  • 81.
  • At 01:00 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Linus Torvalds
Without whom there'd be no Linux kernel

Richard Stallman
Without his seminal and steadfast influence there'd be no open source movement

Sir Tim Berners Lee - "father of the web"

Alan Turing - apart from the computing contribution, his work at Bletchley helped changed world history

Messrs Kernighan, Ritchie, Weinberger... fathers of Unix & C

Messrs Diffie, Helman, Rivest, Shamir, Adelman... [plus the earlier, unnamed staff at GCHQ who did the same work] for their work in public key
encryption to enable online banking / trading to become a reality

  • 82.
  • At 01:00 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • S Armstrong wrote:

My two choices would be:

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, for obvious reasons.

Ken Kutaragi, the "Father of the Playstation."

  • 83.
  • At 01:00 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • James Searby wrote:

Tim Berners - Lee (founder of the modern day internet), surely?

Tim Berners-Lee - for the web

  • 85.
  • At 01:02 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Annie wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee for creating the www.

  • 86.
  • At 01:03 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Hamish Bell CEng wrote:

How are you measuring importance? Many of the names you have mentioned have applied BUSINESS principles to the USE of technology, but have not themselves invented or developed it. Technology underpins all of our modern society but the names of the engineers are known only to a few. Even Gormley's art depends on Ove Arup engineering and technical expertize in structures to realize it in fact.

  • 87.
  • At 01:03 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Linus Torvalds
Without whom there'd be no Linux kernel

Richard Stallman
Without his seminal and steadfast influence there'd be no open source movement

Sir Tim Berners Lee - "father of the web"

Alan Turing - apart from the computing contribution, his work at Bletchley helped changed world history

Messrs Kernighan, Ritchie, Weinberger... fathers of Unix & C

Messrs Diffie, Helman, Rivest, Shamir, Adelman... [plus the earlier, unnamed staff at GCHQ who did the same work] for their work in public key
encryption to enable online banking / trading to become a reality

  • 88.
  • At 01:04 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Aly wrote:


Hackers Crackers

I think a guy from Pakistan the world first hacker who let the technology think about their importance- He is the pioneer of the security and networks.

  • 89.
  • At 01:04 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Max wrote:

Surely Tim Berners-Lee must be near the top of the list.

And how about Tommy Flowers, head of the Colossus project?

  • 90.
  • At 01:04 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Anthony Slack wrote:

What about some of the amazing Asian entrepreneurs? Sony, Nintendo, Acer, etc. Also, people behind key technologies which have enabled the technology revolution - CRT; LCD; HDD
From the UK: Andrew Hopper & Hermann Hauser of Acorn; Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry of ARM; David Potter of Psion (& Symbian)

  • 91.
  • At 01:05 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • philip wassung wrote:

Seymour Cray, architect of the first super computers
Thomas Watson, IBm,
Moore of Intel

  • 92.
  • At 01:05 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • James Bailey wrote:

Your list is a who's who of the business of technology. Stallman, Torvald, Kerrigan, Riche, Joy etc. are the real heros of technology, the genuine creators, your list is just the monetizers of those technologies.

"In the world even the best things are worthless apart from him who first presents them: people call these presenters 'great men'.
--Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathusta, Of the Flies of the Market-place"

  • 93.
  • At 01:05 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Matt Lucas wrote:

It's little geeky and slightly leftfield but I would have to put Shigeru Miyamoto up there for his influence over the development of video games and Hiroshi Yamauchi for his work as chief on Nintendo for many many years.

  • 94.
  • At 01:05 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • avid wrote:

How about Alan Sugar? Amstrad word processors did more than anything to popularise the idea of having a computer at home in the UK.

  • 95.
  • At 01:06 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

In no particular order.

In:
Nikola Tesla!
Sir Tim Berners-Lee!
Arthur C Clarke (Communication satellites, anyone?)
Thomas Alva Edison (Boo! But significant)
Guglielmo Marconi
Nolan Bushnell
Bill Gates
Paul Allen
Steve Jobs
Richard Stallman
Linus Torvalds
Alan Turing
Shawn Fanning
William Hewlett
Dave Packard
Ken Thompson
Dennis Richie
Robert Noyce
Gordon Moore
Clive Sinclair
Narinder Singh Kapany

Out:
Mark Shuttleworth
Charles Dunstone
Richard Branson (why was he suggested? Hopefully not for licensing a brand name to NTL. For Virgin Galactic? Let's wait and see if that has any significant impact).
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook wasn't first, and will be superceded by something else).

  • 96.
  • At 01:06 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

A significant body of software and knowledge is written for free by voluntary contributors all over the world. This software gives people a cheap and customizable option to commercial programs. And is used widely in education, research and to an increasing extent on private home computers. People that have significantly contributed to this effort should be mentioned:
- Linus Torvalds, for organizing development and writing significant parts of the LINUX operating system.
- Richard Stallman for launching the GNU project.
- Mark Shuttleworth's Ubuntu (mentioned above) also fits into this category.

  • 97.
  • At 01:07 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Tim wrote:

Why do you think 'technology' only started with ipods and laptops? The world was changed to a far greater degree by things like the jet engine (Frank Whittle) Television (Marconi)Plastic (some chap in ICI) Radar (Watt)and Splitting the atom (various people) These things allowed us to make greater strides than being able to download the latest Travis album.

Technology isn't just electronics and computing - what about Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine? Or Igor Sigorsky (helicopter) or Kary Mullis (the polymerase chain reaction), or indeed Mikhail Kalashnikov.

The idea of the Facebook founder getting on the list is just risible.

  • 99.
  • At 01:08 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Simon Collins wrote:

James Gosling - The inventer of Java. Without him would anything work?

  • 100.
  • At 01:08 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Michael Wright wrote:

I think you differentiate between REAL contributions to technology, rather than commercialisation of technology. My list of real contributions would include, for example:

Paul C Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scanning).

Chemist Dr. Harry Coover, inventor of Superglue.

Gordon Gould, Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER technology).

Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt, development of radar.

  • 101.
  • At 01:08 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • David Booth wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee must be one of the 45 - presumably he's on the 'long list' (but not mentioned in your summary).

  • 102.
  • At 01:10 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Simon Collins wrote:

James Gosling - The inventer of Java. Without him would anything work?

I think the biggest names all hail from the early to mid 70's.

All of those people had the vision to see where all of this was going.

  • 104.
  • At 01:10 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Nick Randallsmith wrote:

No mention of Tim Berners-Lee in your list, the man who invented the concept of the world wide web whilst working at CERN. Surely one of the greatest innovations of the late 20th century

  • 105.
  • At 01:10 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew Meates wrote:

How about Robert Charles Alexander inventor of Stereophonic sound or Mr Dolby of DD.The world of music and movies has greatly benefited (even though I prefer DTS)

Andrew

I think the biggest names all hail from the early to mid 70's.

All of those people had the vision to see where all of this was going.

  • 107.
  • At 01:11 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew Meates wrote:

How about Robert Charles Alexander inventor of Stereophonic sound or Mr Dolby of DD.The world of music and movies has greatly benefited (even though I prefer DTS)

Andrew

  • 108.
  • At 01:12 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

In no particular order.

In:
Nikola Tesla!
Sir Tim Berners-Lee!
Arthur C Clarke (Communication satellites, anyone?)
Thomas Alva Edison (Boo! But significant)
Guglielmo Marconi
Nolan Bushnell
Bill Gates
Paul Allen
Steve Jobs
Richard Stallman
Linus Torvalds
Alan Turing
Shawn Fanning
William Hewlett
Dave Packard
Ken Thompson
Dennis Richie
Robert Noyce
Gordon Moore
Clive Sinclair
Narinder Singh Kapany

Out:
Mark Shuttleworth
Charles Dunstone
Richard Branson (why was he suggested? Hopefully not for licensing a brand name to NTL. For Virgin Galactic? Let's wait and see if that has any significant impact).
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook wasn't first, and will be superceded by something else).

  • 109.
  • At 01:13 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andy wrote:

Linus Torvalds
Without whom there'd be no Linux kernel

Richard Stallman
Without his seminal and steadfast influence there'd be no open source movement

Sir Tim Berners Lee - "father of the web"

Alan Turing - apart from the computing contribution, his work at Bletchley helped changed world history

Messrs Kernighan, Ritchie, Weinberger... fathers of Unix & C

Messrs Diffie, Helman, Rivest, Shamir, Adelman... [plus the earlier, unnamed staff at GCHQ who did the same work] for their work in public key
encryption to enable online banking / trading to become a reality

  • 110.
  • At 01:13 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • graham walker wrote:

How about Tim Berners-Lee for creating the World Wide Web and Pierre Omidyar Founder and Chairman, eBay?

My take:

1. You/Me: Technology has grown in such a way that it is the user who actually can largely determine use or functionality
2. Anyone/Everyone: Who had a hand in shaping technology in such a way that the user has choices this would include the Mark Shuttleworths and Bill Gates - in their respective ways

  • 112.
  • At 01:15 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Alan James wrote:

A few more:

Tim Berners-Lee - for the web browser.

Richard Stallman - For the GPL.

The Google Guys - for their search engine.

Jimmy Wales - For Wikipedia.

  • 113.
  • At 01:15 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • paul skinner wrote:

Without a doubt, Alan Turing. Computing wouldn't be where it is today without his brilliance.

  • 114.
  • At 01:16 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Mick Kirby wrote:

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA for inventing the WWW.

John von Neumann has got to be well up the list somewhere.

  • 116.
  • At 01:18 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Nick Randallsmith wrote:

No mention of Tim Berners-Lee in your list, the man who invented the concept of the world wide web whilst working at CERN. Surely one of the greatest innovations of the late 20th century

  • 117.
  • At 01:18 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Stewart Ponsford wrote:

I can't believe there is no mention of the creator of the world wide web Tim Berners-Lee.

  • 118.
  • At 01:19 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Alan James wrote:

A few more:

Tim Berners-Lee - for the web browser.

Richard Stallman - For the GPL.

The Google Guys - for their search engine.

Jimmy Wales - For Wikipedia.

  • 119.
  • At 01:19 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Peter Cook wrote:

Vin Cerf and collaborators for the design of the TCP protocol without which the internet could not have grown the way it did.

Ken Olsen for DEC, the PDP-8 & PDP-11 which introduced the world to the idea of computers as "cheap" tools rather than something to be kept in air-conditioned temples

Grace Hopper for Cobol and the second generation languages.

Doug Engelbart for the Mouse, Groupware, Hypertext and window based graphical user interfaces

Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain for the transistor without which computers would be doing even more damage to global warming than they are.

  • 120.
  • At 01:20 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Bob Ericson wrote:

I would certainly put Trevor Baylis in the first 45. Inventor of the clockwork radio and torch. When the electricity and the fuel runs out we can at least wrap ourselves in blankets, wind up a very dim light, and listen to the radio. We might even be able to play with a clockwork laptop. It would fit in with earlier clockwork inventions (like the clock to tell the time of course). Nearly everything else mentioned that has been invented in the last century relies on electricity. The challenge would be to make the components without electricity as well. The clockwork bit would be alright (they were building clocks in 1500) but the electronic components might be a little more difficult. But this would be to test our ingenuity in a post-electric, post-oil, post- nuclear age. Think about it.

  • 121.
  • At 01:20 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Stewart Ponsford wrote:

I can't believe there is no mention of the creator of the world wide web Tim Berners-Lee.

  • 122.
  • At 01:22 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Darren Weekes wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee
and Sir Clive Sinclair - both of these individuals have done more than most to bring computing power and information to the masses. I suppose in the same vain we ought to consider Michael Dell - although I see him more as an opportunistic industrialist rather than a man with true vision.

  • 123.
  • At 01:22 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Bob Ericson wrote:

I would certainly put Trevor Baylis in the first 45. Inventor of the clockwork radio and torch. When the electricity and the fuel runs out we can at least wrap ourselves in blankets, wind up a very dim light, and listen to the radio. We might even be able to play with a clockwork laptop. It would fit in with earlier clockwork inventions (like the clock to tell the time of course). Nearly everything else mentioned that has been invented in the last century relies on electricity. The challenge would be to make the components without electricity as well. The clockwork bit would be alright (they were building clocks in 1500) but the electronic components might be a little more difficult. But this would be to test our ingenuity in a post-electric, post-oil, post- nuclear age. Think about it.

  • 124.
  • At 01:22 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Anita Lewis wrote:

I'd want to see Linus Torvalds, the author of the Linux kernel.

  • 125.
  • At 01:22 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Jonathan wrote:

What about Sir Tim Berners-Lee ? He possibly contributed more to IT than all the others put together

Jonathan

  • 126.
  • At 01:23 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Guy wrote:

How about John Bardeen, William Shockley, and Walter Brattain of Bell Labs who developed the transistor? All this would not be possible without this fundamental building block.

  • 127.
  • At 01:23 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Robert wrote:

Tim Berners Lee, inventor of HTML, without whom, this page would not exist.

Alan Turing for Collossus and Tommy Flowers, who built it.

The guys who came up with RSA encryption, without which I would have to shop offline.

and Clifford Cocks, the GCHQ programmer who invented RSA 4 years before, but was prevented from telling anyone. Without whom I would have lost my faith in British farce.

  • 128.
  • At 01:24 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • graham walker wrote:

How about Tim Berners-Lee for creating the World Wide Web and Pierre Omidyar Founder and Chairman, eBay?

  • 129.
  • At 01:24 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • craftgrahamw wrote:

The title of this piece by Darren Waters is Whos Who of Technology, yet all your enties so far are confined to computers. I think that technology is a much much wider subject that includes a vast amount of areas well outside of computers. Perhaps the title should be better defined if you are merely talking about the narrow field of computers.

  • 130.
  • At 01:24 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Joe wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee - for creating HTML, the language that this website is written in.

Linus Benedict Torvalds for starting Linux, the open source operating system.

Dennis Ritchie for creating the C programming language.

Similarly John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz for BASIC a programming language that acted as an introduction for many people to learn how to program.

  • 131.
  • At 01:24 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • John Shepherd wrote:

Tim Berners Lee for not only inventing the world wide web, but giving it away free!

  • 132.
  • At 01:24 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew wrote:

I fully support the need to celebrate the worlds' innovators but I am frustrated how the word 'technology' has been high jacked to mean only development associated with the internet or a mobile. So your nominees are very true Alex.

Who are we referring to as technology innovators?

'Engineers use creativity, technology, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems..' wiki again(not very novel of me!)

There I have used the word which really needs to be reclaimed and applauded!
Something between an Oscar and a Nobel Prize would be just right.

  • 133.
  • At 01:25 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Simon wrote:

Well, given that this is an intel event, the obvious candidate is Jerry Sanders (the CEO of AMD )that in the '90s pushed the Athlon and forced intel out of its complancency and into pushing new technologies. This competition (still ongoing) is probably one reason that 45nm chips are rolling out this year instead of in 2010.

And, of course, Nicholas Negroponte :-)

  • 134.
  • At 01:26 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • David Booth wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee must be one of the 45 (presumably he's on the long-list, but wasn't mentioned in your selection of names).

  • 135.
  • At 01:26 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

Steve Wozniak hands down who created the Apple I and brought computer technology to the home ahead of IBM.

And the engineers at Xeox for creating the first mouse and GUI interface, which would eventually be copied by Steve Jobs which also copied by Bill Gates.

-- Good artists copy great artists steal.

  • 136.
  • At 01:26 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Bob wrote:

George Foreman for his grill

  • 137.
  • At 01:26 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Cederic wrote:


I'll second Alan Turing, he advanced the state of the art by a stunning amount.

Love or hate his politics, there's no denying the influence of Richard Stallman on the technology of today. Although others (such as Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall) have delivered stunning successful software, Stallman's purity of vision and the simple genius of the GPL stand proud.

If you want to step away from computing technology, 100 years includes WWII: Barnes Wallis, Reginald Mitchell, Oppenheimer?

Or the various other technologists, responsible for new materials (various plastics and metallic alloys), the guys that put men on the moon, whoever invented the mobile phone..

These guys changed the world. Steve Jobs merely markets it.

  • 138.
  • At 01:26 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

All the names you mention in your article are related to computing/IT/ the digital age. If it's really about technology your list should be broader than that. What about aviation, space research, agricultural technology, vaccination kits, etc? In terms of global impact and significance, things like the invention and deployment of the tractor, the jet engine and modern medical technology leave the iPod, the Atari and Second Life way behind. If you really want to compare just among those you named in the article, maybe you should rename your list to "digital technology"?

  • 139.
  • At 01:26 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • matt wrote:

echoing the above comments, your list is very heavy on late-20th century figures and light on some important earlier pioneers!


jon von neuman, for fundamental contributions to algorithmic and computing theory,

craig shannon for inventing information theory that underpins all of modern communication,

linus tordvald for originating linux

  • 140.
  • At 01:26 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Richard Allan wrote:

You seem to be using the word technology to mean computers and the internet. There is a lot more technology out there than is covered by those narrow fields.

Therefore I'm suggesting George de Mestral and Harry Coover. What did they do you ask? They are respectively the inventors of velcro and superglue. Products that are much more influential than those of Mark Zuckerberg, Shawn Fanning, and Philip Rosedale.

  • 141.
  • At 01:27 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew Marjoribanks wrote:


You must include Tom Kilburn, who built 'Baby' and on it ran the world's first executed stored program at 11am on 21 June 1948, thereby effectively creating the modern software industry.

Best regards

  • 142.
  • At 01:28 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Stuart Scott wrote:

Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber for the BBC micro and bringing IT to classrooms in the 80's.

Jack Tramiel for the Commodore 64.

And finally Jeff Minter founder of Llamasoft and number one electro-hippy for creating the craziest, most original and mindbendiest games of 80's

  • 143.
  • At 01:29 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Paul wrote:

A few distinguished names:

Bardeen, Shockley and Brattain, for the transistor.

Claude Shannon, for digital logic.

Suffice to say, without these people the likes of Steve Jobs would be shining shoes somewhere.

  • 144.
  • At 01:29 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

All the names you mention in your article are related to computing/IT/ the digital age. If it's really about technology your list should be broader than that. What about aviation, space research, agricultural technology, vaccination kits, etc? In terms of global impact and significance, things like the invention and deployment of the tractor, the jet engine and modern medical technology leave the iPod, the Atari and Second Life way behind. If you really want to compare just among those you named in the article, maybe you should rename your list to "digital technology"?

Richard Stallman & Linus Torvalds for making Open Source a reality.

  • 146.
  • At 01:34 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Phil Clark wrote:

Without Sir Tim Berners-Lee, posting this comment would not be possible. If you agree that communication is very important to every aspect of life, then TBL must be there. In fact, a real contender for the number one slot.

  • 147.
  • At 01:36 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • David wrote:

Gary Kildal, co-founder of Digital Research - a real pioneer in PC development. Invented CP/M which was cloned to PC-DOC and MS-DOS, without there would be no Microsoft.

Some of his other achievements are listed in Wikipedia as:

- Introduction of operating systems with preemptive multitasking and windowing capabilities and menu-driven user interfaces.
- Creation of the first diskette track buffering schemes, read-ahead algorithms, file directory caches, and RAM disk emulators.
- Introduction of a binary recompiler in the 1980s.
- The first programming language and first compiler specifically for microprocessors.
- The first microprocessor disk operating system, which eventually sold a quarter of a million copies.
- The first computer interface for video disks to allow automatic nonlinear playback, presaging today's interactive multimedia.
- The file system and data structures for the first consumer CD-ROM.
- The first successful open system architecture by segregating system-specific hardware interfaces in a set of BIOS routines, making the whole third-party software industry possible.

At the time of Kildall's death, Bill Gates commented that he was "one of the original pioneers of the PC revolution" and "a very creative computer scientist who did excellent work."

  • 148.
  • At 01:38 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Peter Claydon wrote:

It's got to favour people who have made fundamental inventions over those who have commercialised them. What about Marconi, Baird (inventor of the TV), Shockley (inventor of the transistor), Kilby (inventor of the integrated circuit), Whittle (inventor of the turbo jet), Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web), Vint Cerf (inventor of TCP/IP)?

  • 149.
  • At 01:40 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Andrew wrote:

I fully support the need to celebrate the worlds' innovators but I am frustrated how the word 'technology' has been high jacked to mean only development associated with the internet or a mobile. So your nominees are suitably challenging Alex.

Who are we referring to as technology innovators?

'Engineers use creativity, technology, and scientific knowledge to solve practical problems..' wiki again(not very novel of me!)

There I have used the word which really needs to be reclaimed and applauded!

Something between an Oscar and a Nobel Prize would be just right.

Is this computer technology only (which is what most folks have opted for) or technology in general ? Here's some names I have not seen up there yet...

IN
Henry Ford - Cars, mass production
Paul Baran - Packet Switching
Randall & Boot - Magnetrons
Vladimir Zworykin - Cathode Ray Tube
Lee De Forest - Radio valves
Arthur C Clark - Geostationary Satellites
Edwin Armstrong - FM Radio
Robert Watson Watt - Radar
Robert Oppenheimer - Atom bomb
John Von Neumann - Most things !
Wallace Carothers - Nylon, polymers

OUT
All those guys who run shops flogging mobile phones and broadband.

Web Developers. What's so special about Facebook ??

  • 151.
  • At 01:43 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Dave wrote:

Steve Wozniak hands down who created the Apple I and brought computer technology to the home ahead of IBM.

The engineers at Xeox for creating the first mouse and Graphical User Interface which we're all using right now.

Would Sir Frank Whittle - creator of the jet engine be included as "technology" is very broad.

or Sergi Korolyov - Chief Russian rocket design engineer who put the first man (Yuri Gagarin) into space. Without the space race how far would computer technology have progressed?

  • 152.
  • At 01:44 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Stuart Kerley wrote:

I think James Dyson for inventing good vacum cleaners that don't lose their suck.

  • 153.
  • At 01:50 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Trevor Jackson wrote:

How about the team at Loughborough Uni who developed the LASER from concept to something useful?

  • 154.
  • At 01:57 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Dave H wrote:

Whoever the 45 are, and I agree with many of the inclusions above, please please don't put them in any order of importance. Its just not appropriate to turn it into a pseudo-top44 (0-44?) like the junk tv progs. Dave

  • 155.
  • At 02:01 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • John Sak wrote:

Admiral Grace Hopper - not only for her mathematical and computer programming contributions, but for teaching us the significance of "nanometer."

  • 156.
  • At 02:05 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Hugh Shanahan wrote:

Tim Berners-Lee for inventing the web. Why is he never put on lists of this kind ?

William Shockley, a controversial figure, but should be there nonetheless for playing a fundamental role in the invention of the transistor and involved in early attempts in commercialising them and in effect founding Silicon Valley.

  • 157.
  • At 02:05 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Sabbs wrote:

How about Bob Moog? Inventor of the first electronic synthesiser "The Minimoog" in the late 60's/70's and the impact it has had on todays music and the proliferation of synth manufacturers like Korg, Roland, Yamaha and many others.

Cheers

  • 158.
  • At 02:05 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Nick Lewis wrote:

William Shockley for the transistor, and Marconi for radio communications. He just about squeezes into your 100 years.

Baird for television. Robert Goddard for the liquid fuelled rocket. Werner von Braun and Sergei Korolev for the practical realisation of spaceflight. Arthur C Clarke for the comsat concept. Frank Whittle for the jet engine.

  • 159.
  • At 02:06 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • D Ward wrote:

I would recommend a pioneer of what we do with technology rather than the individuals above... my recommendation is for Alan November who is highly influential in an educational use of "empowering technology".

  • 160.
  • At 02:06 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Nicholas A wrote:

Interesting that all the names mentioned by you are all contemporary, working in the field of computing (or electronics) and very much alive. What about those whose work was in other ("heavy") technologies that are still extraordinarily important to our lives? The following are just a few British engineers whose work was probably more significant than most of the names you have mentioned: Charles Parsons (who developed the steam turbine), John Baker (who came up with the concept of plastic theory of collapse - fundamental to the design of steel framed buildings), Bennett Melvill Jones (the importance of streamlining in aircraft) or Frank Whittle (inventor of the jet engine).

Just outside your timeframe is Joseph Bazalgette (chief engineer to the Metropolitan Board of Works - one of the predecessors to the Greater London Authority) who has probably had the greatest impact the day-to-day lives of Londoners as we are still using the sewers, roads and bridges that he designed and built.

For fundamentally changing social interactions and delivering a great platform, even though the full effects of it haven't been felt yet, I would have to say the founders of Twitter.com have to be there, seriously this is going to be big stuff...

  • 162.
  • At 02:24 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Slap Happy George wrote:

Julian Schwinger, Richard Feynman, and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga, co-winners of the 1965 Nobel prize in physics, for developing quantum theory to the point where it could be used for practical purposes (quantum electrodynamic theory, or QED). It is the most accurate and useful scientific theory we have to date, which (alongside relativity theory) underpins all modern physics (including electronic devices), and also all modern chemistry.

No QED, no modern society, especially computers.

QED. QED.

  • 163.
  • At 02:24 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Edward wrote:

Philo Farnsworth for television, Alan Turing for computing. Frank Whittle for the jet engine. Tim Berners Lee for the WWW. The rest are just hangers-on

  • 164.
  • At 02:32 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Robert wrote:

Tim Berners Lee, inventor of HTML, without whom, this page would not exist.

Alan Turing for Collossus and Tommy Flowers, who built it.

The guys who came up with RSA encryption, without which I would have to shop offline.

and Clifford Cocks, the GCHQ programmer who invented RSA 4 years before, but was prevented from telling anyone. Without whom I would have lost my faith in British farce.

  • 165.
  • At 02:33 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

In no particular order.

In:
Nikola Tesla!
Sir Tim Berners-Lee!
Arthur C Clarke (Communication satellites, anyone?)
Thomas Alva Edison (Boo! But significant)
Guglielmo Marconi
Nolan Bushnell
Bill Gates
Paul Allen
Steve Jobs
Richard Stallman
Linus Torvalds
Alan Turing
Shawn Fanning
William Hewlett
Dave Packard
Ken Thompson
Dennis Richie
Robert Noyce
Gordon Moore
Clive Sinclair
Narinder Singh Kapany

Out:
Mark Shuttleworth
Charles Dunstone
Richard Branson (why was he suggested? Hopefully not for licensing a brand name to NTL. For Virgin Galactic? Let's wait and see if that has any significant impact).
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook wasn't first, and will be superceded by something else).

  • 166.
  • At 02:33 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Vivek wrote:

Linus Torvalds - creator of Linux!

  • 167.
  • At 02:34 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Sean wrote:

Robert Oppenheimer and General Groves of the Manhatten Project - they developed a technology that still has the world scared senseless 60 - 70 odd years later!

  • 168.
  • At 02:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Christopher wrote:

How about John Chambers, or Lerner and Bosack (who founded Cisco)? It's easy to focus on software, content and ICT hardware but let's not forget the infrastructure of the Internet without which this wouldn't be possible....

  • 169.
  • At 02:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Sean wrote:

Robert Oppenheimer and General Groves of the Manhatten Project - they developed a technology that still has the world scared senseless 60 - 70 odd years later!

  • 170.
  • At 02:37 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Rifaz Razeek wrote:

Apart from the obevious candidates mentioned in the article...

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley --- The inventors of the Transistor effect

Many think this as the greatest invention of the 20th century --- thats up for argument... but certainly in the development of computers up to the latest Macbook Air.

I also think these great names would mean a lot more for INTEL

Thanks

  • 171.
  • At 02:39 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • mike wrote:

William Shockley - the co-inventor of the transistor. It was this and his obnoxious personality which brought about, due to his researchers leaving and setting up there own companies, the emergence of Silicon Valley. If he had been a nicer guy would there have been an Intel, or an AMD?

  • 172.
  • At 02:48 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Drew Caulfield wrote:

If we are talking about technology perhaps we should start at the beginning. with John Logie Baird there, probably, wouldn't be monitors. Without Alan Turing and the Bletchley Park code crackers there may not have been a computer at all by now. Of course Mr Marconi et al chipped in with wireless technology.
Forget Gates and the rest. They are just riding the wave of British and British-based technologists. Let us celebrate them instead of a few Yankee upstarts!

  • 173.
  • At 03:15 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • John Quayle wrote:

Stuart Kerley is a must for developing the first Internet Banking service 11 years ago.

  • 174.
  • At 03:31 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • sarah wrote:

Absolutely loving the number of commentators on Tim Berners-Lee that rightly recognise his importance, and wrongly presume themselves to be the first to notice it.

Commentators seem remarkably versed in the history of computing, yet utterly incapable of reading!

My tuppence. Scott Fahlman :-)

  • 175.
  • At 05:54 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Edward wrote:

Philo Farnsworth for television, Alan Turing for computing. Frank Whittle for the jet engine. Tim Berners Lee for the WWW. The rest are just hangers-on

  • 176.
  • At 06:23 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Barry Horton wrote:

Thomas Merrill, Lawrence G. Roberts and Leonard Kleinrock for their pioneering work on packet switching which without we would not have had the Internet as it is today.

  • 177.
  • At 07:10 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • UM wrote:

One name not many mention: A. S. Tanenbaum. His books have been an inspiration to our generation. Even Linux was born because Linus was inspired by the Minix book. Not to mention the fact that Minix was a fully working OS. I don't know much about his theoretical contributions to the field of computing, but his contributions to education are unquestionable.

Others:

Claude Shannon for pioneering IT
Huffman for the compression
Von Neumann for the architecture

  • 178.
  • At 09:03 PM on 21 Jan 2008,
  • Neil Irving wrote:

Many of the suggestions have been excellent. I would like to add :

Sergei Pavlovich Korolev - the "chief designer" of Sputnik the world's first artificial satellite.

Konrad Zuse - German computer scientist who was responsible for the first high level programming language in the immediate aftermath of the war

Wilbur and Orville Wright - Inventors of the first succesful aeroplane. You could argue against their inclusion because their greatest achievement was (just) more than 100 years ago.

Alexander Graham Bell - inventor of the telephone (but ditto).

Definitely not Zuckerbeg, Fanning, Roseberg, Branson or Dunstone.

  • 179.
  • At 03:59 AM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Trevor wrote:

Ross Perot - founder of EDS. EDS rewrote how computer business was done in its era. Perot's vision changed the whole world of business. Companies were able to outsource large projects to EDS and hence EDS was able to centralise expertise and management.

  • 180.
  • At 12:06 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Ian Halstead wrote:

Professor George Gray has to go on the list- as developer of room temperature stable liquid crystals. It's staggering to think of the number of devices that rely on LCDs.
I was lucky enough to have him as my supervisor at University - a nicer self-effacing chap you couldn't meet.

  • 181.
  • At 01:10 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Behn K wrote:

sarah (post 174)

"Commentators seem remarkably versed in the history of computing, yet utterly incapable of reading!"

Sorry, you're probably wrong!
All posts are moderated, meaining that the majority of the TBL posts are likely to have been written before the first one appeared.

Commentators seem remarkably versed in how people comment, yet are utterly incapable of understanding the mechanics of it!

  • 182.
  • At 01:15 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Tim Berners Lee for sure (inventor of the Web - but not the Internet as some have suggested).

But here's an aside: Why do people insist on saying 'Without "abc" we wouldn't have "xyz" today!'. It's like suggesting that if Mr Edison hadn't wrapped Humphrey Davy's discovery in an oxygen-free glass bubble, we'd still be lighting our homes and workplaces with candles and gaslamps!

All credit to Thomas Edison of course, I don't mean to take that away, but I do still think that we'd have the wheel today, even if the original inventor had decided to turn his hand to cultivating spinach instead.

But yeah, rant over. Tim Berners Lee must be in the list.

Oh, and I think Grace Murray Hopper has more right to be in the list than Mark Zuckerberg.

Definitely NOT Zuckerbeg. He's neither invented nor contributed anything other than just redoing what has been around for years.

  • 184.
  • At 01:33 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • c wrote:

Alan Turring

  • 185.
  • At 01:35 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Mark wrote:

Really many of the names have little impact on the average 'non-techy'
I would suggest:
Alec Issigonis - designer of the Mini, I would say personal transport development is a critical technology from the last 100 years
Werner Von Braun - the whole of the planet was mesmerised by the space program
Tim Berners-Lee - the inventor of the underpinning web technology without which few of those mentioned would be noted
Kao and Hockham - Inventors of the optic fibre

  • 186.
  • At 02:42 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Gaffer wrote:

Phillip Zimmerman

The bloke who published PGP encryption software back in the early 1990's and thus opened the door for free public key encryption.

Without this, secure communication over the net (vital for shopping, teleworking, or just private email) would not exist.

  • 187.
  • At 03:42 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Peter Percival wrote:

Those who think that Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the Internet are obviously not qualified to nominate him.

  • 188.
  • At 04:02 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Dragan wrote:

Nikola Tesla!

  • 189.
  • At 04:10 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • hb wrote:

What about the inventor of Java, Internet and People who drive open source in the community.


This is what makes technology accessable globally.

  • 190.
  • At 05:33 PM on 22 Jan 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

Wright brothers - flight, although stretching the 100 year limit international flight has revolutionised the world

Guglielmo Marconi - radio etc.
Tesla - radio / coils
Edwin Howard Armstrong - inventor of FM radio
Reginald Fessenden - radio / ship to shore

Logie Baird - TV and radio

Turing - the computer, cryptography

Robert E. Kahn
Vinton Cerf - inventors of TCP/IP - HTML et al would be nothing without it

Trevor Baylis - for the clockwork radio, and such devices revolutionising the 3rd world

A lot of the big advances aren't people though - NTT and others for the mobile, solar power, computer - many people inc those mentioned above and MANY more - ENIAC, colossus teams etc - the telephone - Bell labs etc.

  • 191.
  • At 05:35 PM on 23 Jan 2008,
  • Evans wrote:

We could not have a list without Nyquist and Claude Elwood Shannon. These guys pioneered digital technology.

  • 192.
  • At 12:41 AM on 27 Jan 2008,
  • Chris wrote:

This week ARM celebrated reaching the milestone having thier microprocessor design used in 10 *billion* mobiles devices in just over 10 years. They have truely shaped the digital age.

Despite this, I could only find 3 mentions of them in this forum.

Most people havent heard of ARM, but own more than one product that uses thier technology.

This company is a shining example of the finest the UK has to offer... A pitty no one takes any notice...


  • 193.
  • At 08:19 AM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • Colin wrote:

Philo Farnsworth, inventor of the electronically scanned television.


The Wright Brothers and Robert Goddard, aerospace was a major catalyst for much of technological development of the last 100 years.


Jon Von Neumann, didn't truly invent, but put his name to the modern computer architecture of a single memory store for instructions and data.


Robert Oppenheimer, surely the atom bomb and the subsequent Cold War helped spur technological advance.


Watson and Crick, perhaps the two most important biologists since Darwin and likely more important than him. Possibly in the history of biology.


I'd also add a whole list of influential science fiction authors. Besides many of them being scientists themselves, they helped put the wonder of technological advance into the public mind, that helped push development as well as inspiring many later innovators to study technological fields.


I'd go as far as to list important politicians who supported national standards, funded research, development and infrastructure, and helped hammer out international agreements regarding technology.


As for recent computer science:


Nolan Bushnell of Atari, for introducing computer technology as a home appliance.


Jack Trammel of Atari and Commodore, ignoring the popularity of the Commodore 64, his purchase of MOS Technologies, maker of the 6502 processor, meant Atari, Nintendo, Apple, etc. were paying his competing company for their key component. Basically introducing vertical integration into computing.


Bill Gates, love him or hate him he moved the real money maker of computers from hardware to software.


Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, for introducing the GUI to the masses.


Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, and thousands if not millions of Open Source developers, their model of software development and licensing is challenging the current licensing model and returning computing back to the 1970s "hacker ethic" of software engineering for the sake of "one-ups manship".


And simply the billions of computer users today who's pocketbooks are pushing development and the marketing people making them think they need as much power in their pocket as a 1980s supercomputer.

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