Computer Nerd, Math Nerd, Science Nerd

John Warnock (American computer scientist) was born on October 6, 1940

John Edward Warnock is an American computer scientist best known as the co-founder with Charles Geschke of Adobe Systems Inc., the graphics and publishing software company. Dr. Warnock was President of Adobe for his first two years and Chairman and CEO for his remaining sixteen years at the company. Although retired as CEO in 2001, he still co-chairs the board with Geschke. Warnock has pioneered the development of graphics, publishing, Web and electronic document technologies that have revolutionized the field of publishing and visual communications. Warnock has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Philosophy, a Master of Science in Mathematics, a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (Computer Science), and an honorary degree in Science, all from the University of Utah. At the University of Utah he was a member of the Gamma Beta Chapter of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. He also has an honorary degree from the American Film Institute.

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Computer Nerd, Math Nerd, Science Nerd

Dennis Ritchie (American computer scientist) was born on September 9, 1941

Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie is an American computer scientist notable for developing C and for having influence on other programming languages, as well as operating systems such as Multics and Unix. He received the Turing Award in 1983 and the National Medal of Technology 1998 on April 21, 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007. Born in Bronxville, New York, Ritchie graduated from Harvard University with degrees in physics and applied mathematics. In 1967, he began working at the Bell Labs Computing Sciences Research Center, and in 1968, he received a Ph.D. from Harvard under the supervision of Patrick C. Fischer. Ritchie is best known as the creator of the C programming language and a key developer of the Unix operating system, and as co-author of the definitive book on C, The C Programming Language, commonly referred to as K&R (in reference to the authors Kernighan and Ritchie). Ritchie’s invention of C and his role in the development of Unix alongside Ken Thompson have placed him as an important pioneer of modern computing. The C language is still widely used today in application and operating system development, and its influence is seen in most modern programming languages. Unix has also been influential, establishing concepts and principles that are now well-established precepts of computing. Ritchie was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1988 for “development of the ‘C’ programming language and for co-development of the UNIX operating system.”

Computer Nerd, Math Nerd, Science Nerd

John McCarthy (American computer scientist) was born on September 4, 1927

John McCarthy, is an American computer scientist and cognitive scientist who received the Turing Award in 1971 for his major contributions to the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). He was responsible for the coining of the term “Artificial Intelligence” in his 1955 proposal for the 1956 Dartmouth Conference and is the inventor of the Lisp programming language. McCarthy showed an early aptitude for mathematics; in his teens he taught himself mathematics by studying the textbooks used at the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech). As a result, when he was accepted into Caltech the following year, he was able to skip the first two years of mathematics. Receiving a B.S. in Mathematics in 1948, McCarthy initially continued his studies at Caltech. He received a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Princeton University in 1951 under Solomon Lefschetz. McCarthy championed mathematical logic for Artificial Intelligence. In 1958, he proposed the advice taker, which inspired later work on question-answering and logic programming. Around 1959, he invented Garbage collection to solve problems in Lisp. Based on the Lambda Calculus, Lisp rapidly became the programming language of choice for AI applications after its publication in 1960. He helped to motivate the creation of Project MAC at MIT, but left MIT for Stanford University in 1962, where he helped set up the Stanford AI Laboratory, for many years a friendly rival to Project MAC. In 1961, he was the first to publicly suggest (in a speech given to celebrate MIT’s centennial) that computer time-sharing technology might lead to a future in which computing power and even specific applications could be sold through the utility business model (like water or electricity). This idea of a computer or information utility was very popular in the late 1960s, but faded by the mid-1970s as it became clear that the hardware, software and telecommunications technologies of the time were simply not ready. However, since 2000, the idea has resurfaced in new forms (see application service provider, grid computing, and cloud computing.)

Computer Nerd, Math Nerd

Stephen Wolfram (British scientist and the designer of Wolfram Alpha) was born on August 29, 1959

Stephen Wolfram is a British scientist and the chief designer of the Mathematica software application and the Wolfram Alpha computational knowledge engine. In 1986 Wolfram left the Institute for Advanced Study for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he founded their Center for Complex Systems Research and started to develop the computer algebra system Mathematica, which was first released in 1988, when he left academia. In 1987 he co-founded a company called Wolfram Research which continues to develop and market the program. In March 2009, Wolfram announced Wolfram|Alpha, an answer engine with a new approach to knowledge extraction and an easy-to-use interface, launched on May 16, 2009 and a Pro version launched on February 8, 2012 The engine is based on natural language processing, a large library of algorithms and answers queries using the approach described in A New Kind of Science. The application programming interface (API) allows other applications to extend and enhance Alpha. Wolfram|Alpha is one of the answer engines behind Microsoft’s Bing and Apple’s Siri (along with Google and Yelp!) answering factual questions.

Math Nerd, Science Nerd

Marcus du Sautoy (Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and Professor of Mathematics) was born on August 26, 1965

Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Formerly a Fellow of All Souls College, and Wadham College, he is now a Fellow of New College. He is President of the Mathematical Association. He was previously an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow and a Royal Society University Research Fellow. His academic work concerns mainly group theory and number theory. In October 2008, he was appointed to the Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science, succeeding the inaugural holder Richard Dawkins. Du Sautoy is an atheist, but has stated that as holder of the Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science his focus is going to be “very much on the science and less on religion.” He has described his own religion as being “Arsenal – football,” as he sees religion as wanting to belong to a community. Du Sautoy is a supporter of Common Hope, an organisation that helps people in Guatemala.

Math Nerd

Gerd Faltings (German mathematician) was born on July 28, 1954

Gerd Faltings is a German mathematician known for his work in arithmetic algebraic geometry. From 1972 to 1978, he studied mathematics and physics at the University of Münster. In 1978 he received his PhD in mathematics and in 1981 he got the venia legendi (Habilitation) in mathematics, both from the University of Münster. During this time he was an assistant professor at the University of Münster. From 1982 to 1984, he was professor at the University of Wuppertal. After that he was professor at Princeton University (1985–1994). He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1986 for proving the Mordell conjecture, which states that any non-singular projective curve of genus g > 1 defined over a number field K contains only finitely many K-rational points. Since 1994 he has been a director of the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn. In 1996, he received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, which is the highest honour awarded in German research.

Math Nerd

Henri Cartan (French mathematician) was born on July 8, 1904

Henri Paul Cartan was a French mathematician with substantial contributions in algebraic topology. He was the son of the French mathematician Élie Cartan. Cartan studied at the Lycée Hoche in Versailles, then at the ENS, receiving his doctorate in mathematics. He taught at the University of Strasbourg from November 1931 until the outbreak of the Second World War, after which he held academic positions at a number of other French universities, spending the bulk of his working life in Paris. Cartan is known for work in algebraic topology, in particular on cohomology operations, the method of “killing homotopy groups”, and group cohomology. His seminar in Paris in the years after 1945 covered ground on several complex variables, sheaf theory, spectral sequences and homological algebra, in a way that deeply influenced Jean-Pierre Serre, Armand Borel, Alexander Grothendieck and Frank Adams, amongst others of the leading lights of the younger generation. The number of his official students was small, but includes Adrien Douady, Roger Godement, Max Karoubi, Jean-Louis Koszul, Jean-Pierre Serre and René Thom.