Marc Lowell Andreesen is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, software engineer, and multi-millionaire best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. He founded and later sold the software company Opsware to Hewlett-Packard. He is also a co-founder of Ning, a company that provides a platform for social-networking websites. He sits on the board of directors of Facebook, eBay, and HP, among others. Andreessen is a frequent keynote speaker and guest at Silicon Valley conferences. He is one of only six inductees in the World Wide Web Hall of Fame announced at the first international conference on the World Wide Web in 1994. Andreessen was born in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and raised in New Lisbon, Wisconsin, the son of Patricia and Lowell Andreessen, who worked for a seed company. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As an undergraduate, he interned one summer at IBM in Austin, Texas, United States. He also worked at the university’s National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), where he became familiar with Tim Berners-Lee’s open standards for the World Wide Web. Andreessen and a full-time salaried co-worker Eric Bina worked on creating a user-friendly browser with integrated graphics that would work on a wide range of computers. The resulting code was the Mosaic web browser.
Nerd Mouse is a cartoon Internet mouse who is the most famous resident of Nerdville.org where he lives with his pet fish, Nerd Fish. He is the Resource Allocation Information Services Analyst Specialist for the County of Nerdonia.net. His friends (both of them) are nerds. He studied computers as a child by reading manuals and quizzing himself nightly. He had the highest grade point average in the history of Nerd Mouse University (a university Nerd Mouse created for himself). He studied nerd culture in school and created a complex grading system for which Nerd Mouse had the only key. He created NerdMouse.com to celebrate nerds and nerd culture (and because he honestly had nothing better to do).
Alan Mathison Turing was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst and computer scientist. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of “algorithm” and “computation” with the Turing machine, which played a significant role in the creation of the modern computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, Britain’s codebreaking centre. For a time he was head of Hut 8, the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis. He devised a number of techniques for breaking German ciphers, including the method of the bombe, an electromechanical machine that could find settings for the Enigma machine. After the war he worked at the National Physical Laboratory, where he created one of the first designs for a stored-program computer, the ACE. Towards the end of his life Turing became interested in mathematical biology. He wrote a paper on the chemical basis of morphogenesis, and he predicted oscillating chemical reactions such as the Belousov–Zhabotinsky reaction, which were first observed in the 1960s. Turing’s homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the United Kingdom. He accepted treatment with female hormones (chemical castration) as an alternative to prison. He died in 1954, several weeks before his 42nd birthday, from cyanide poisoning. An inquest determined it was suicide; his mother and some others believed his death was accidental. On 10 September 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for the way in which Turing was treated after the war.
Timothy William Bray is a Canadian software developer and entrepreneur. He co-founded Open Text Corporation and Antarctica Systems. Bray was Director of Web Technologies at Sun Microsystems from early 2004 to early 2010. Since then he has served as a Developer Advocate at Google, focusing on Android. Bray was born on June 21, 1955 in Alberta, Canada. He grew up in Beirut, Lebanon and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science (double major in Mathematics and Computer Science) from the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario. Tim described his switch of focus from Math to Computer Science this way: “In math I’d worked like a dog for my Cs, but in CS I worked much less for As—and learned that you got paid well for doing it.” In June of 2009, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Guelph. Fresh out of university, Bray joined Digital Equipment Corporation in Toronto as a software specialist. In 1983, Bray left DEC for Microtel Pacific Research. He joined the New Oxford English Dictionary project at the University of Waterloo in 1987 as its manager. It was during this time Bray worked with SGML, a technology that would later become central to both Open Text Corporation and his XML and Atom standardization work.
Bruce Sterling Woodcock is an American computer and video games industry analyst, best known for his work on subscription tracking of massively multiplayer online games via his website MMOGCHART.COM. Woodcock was born in the small farming community of Sullivan, Missouri on June 20, 1970, the youngest of three children to Myron and Mary Woodcock. He graduated from Sullivan Senior High School in 1988, and then went on to Purdue University, studying physics, philosophy, and computer science. In 1989, he became involved in internet gaming on early MUDs, and in 1990, was briefly running two of the largest TinyMUDs of the time, TinyMUD Classic and Islandia. His original online handle was Sir Bruce Sterling, which was later shortened to Sir Bruce when he began posting on message boards. Leaving college early, he moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1991, where he began a career in information technology. In 1993, he moved to San Jose, California, where he subsequently worked as a system administrator at early ISP Netcom (USA), and then Network Appliance, eventually leaving in 1997 with $250,000 in stock options. He started to maintain a presence on the Yahoo! financial message boards as he closely tracked the performance of Network Appliance, helped the company’s fortunes, and built his own portfolio to $3 million. With the advent of the MMOGs, Chron X and Ultima Online in 1997, Woodcock became a player and beta-tester for this genre of game. He invested in and joined the Board of Directors for Playnet and their game World War II Online, and in August 2002, began his research, reporting, and tracking of MMOG subscription numbers, which has become a standard of reference both inside and outside the MMOG industry. In November 2004 his work was moved to its own dedicated website, MMOGCHART.COM. The site has not been updated since May 2008.
James Arthur Gosling is a Canadian computer scientist, best known as the father of the Java programming language. Gosling is generally credited with having invented the Java programming language in 1994. He created the original design of Java and implemented the language’s original compiler and virtual machine. Gosling traces the origins of the approach to his early 19s graduate-student days, when he created a pseudo-code (p-code) virtual machine for the lab’s DEC VAX computer, so that his professor could run programs written in UCSD Pascal. Pascal compiled into p-code to foster precisely this kind of portability. In the work leading to Java at Sun, he saw that architecture-neutral execution for widely distributed programs could be achieved by implementing a similar philosophy: always program for the same virtual machine.
Alan Curtis Kay is an American computer scientist, known for his early pioneering work on object-oriented programming and windowing graphical user interface design, and for coining the phrase, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” He is the president of the Viewpoints Research Institute, and an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also on the advisory board of TTI/Vanguard. Until mid 2005, he was a Senior Fellow at HP Labs, a Visiting Professor at Kyoto University, and an Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Kay has lectured extensively on the idea that the computer revolution is very new, and all of the good ideas have not been universally implemented. Lectures at OOPSLA 1997 conference and his ACM Turing award talk, entitled “The Computer Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet” were informed by his experiences with Sketchpad, Simula, Smalltalk, and the bloated code of commercial software. On August 31, 2006, Kay’s proposal to the United States National Science Foundation (NSF) was granted, thus funding Viewpoints Research Institute for several years. The proposal title was: Steps Toward the Reinvention of Programming: A compact and Practical Model of Personal Computing as a Self-exploratorium. A sense of what Kay is trying to do comes from this quote, from the abstract of a seminar on this given at Intel Research Labs, Berkeley: “The conglomeration of commercial and most open source software consumes in the neighborhood of several hundreds of millions of lines of code these days. We wonder: how small could be an understandable practical “Model T” design that covers this functionality? 1M lines of code? 200K LOC? 100K LOC? 20K LOC?”