Director Nerd, Math Nerd, Science Nerd, Writer Nerd

Peter Pohl (Swedish author and former director and screenwriter of short films) was born on December 5, 1940

Peter Pohl is a Swedish author and former director and screenwriter of short films. He has received prizes for several of his books and films, as well as for his entire work. From 1966 until his retirement in 2005, he was lecturer in Numerical analysis at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Peter Pohl was born on 5 December 1940 in Hamburg, Germany. He lost his father during World War II and moved to Sweden with his mother in 1945, where he started school in 1947. He went to the Södra Latin gymnasium in Stockholm until 1959. During this period, he engaged in medium-distance running, with good results, but he quit running when he was 19 years old. From his 15th until his 30th (1970), Pohl was part of the schools summercamp at Värmdö and later at Blidö. This period of his life is described in the books that form the Rainbow Series and are of particular influence of his other books. He studied mathematics and physics and was a research assistant at the Swedish Defence Research Establishment for several years, starting in 1963. Pohl soon returned to university in order to graduate at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, where he received his doctorate in Numerical analysis in 1975. He became a lecturer in Numerical analysis and wrote several textbooks on this subject.

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Math Nerd

Andrew Michael Spence (American economist) was born on November 7, 1943

Andrew Michael Spence is an American economist and recipient of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, along with George A. Akerlof and Joseph E. Stiglitz, for their work on the dynamics of information flows and market development. He conducted this research while at Harvard University. Spence is probably most famous for his job-market signaling model, which essentially triggered the enormous volume of literature in this branch of contract theory. In this model, employees signal their respective skills to employers by acquiring a certain degree of education, which is costly to them. Employers will pay higher wages to more educated employees, because they know that the proportion of employees with high abilities is higher among the educated ones, as it is less costly for them to acquire education than it is for employees with low abilities. For the model to work, it is not even necessary for education to have any intrinsic value if it can convey information about the sender (employee) to the recipient (employer) and if the signal is costly. He has also been a consistent contributor to Project Syndicate, an international newspaper syndicate, since 2008. Among his beliefs are that high-frequency trading should be banned. Professor Spence has been credited as Bill Gates’s most influential teacher.

Female Nerd, Math Nerd

Shakuntala Devi (calculating prodigy) was born on November 4, 1939

Shakuntala Devi is a calculating prodigy who was born in Bangalore, India. Her father worked in a “Brahmin circus” as a trapeze and tightrope performer, and later as a lion tamer and a human cannonball. Her calculating gifts first demonstrated themselves while she was doing card tricks with her father when she was three. They report she “beat” them by memorization of cards rather than by sleight of hand. By age six she demonstrated her calculation and memorization abilities at the University of Mysore. At the age of eight she had success at Annamalai University by doing the same. In 1977 she extracted the 23rd root of a 201-digit number mentally. She did this 12 seconds faster than the Univac-1108. On June 18, 1980 she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers 7,686,369,774,870 x 2,465,099,745,779 picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London. She answered the question in 28 seconds. However, this time is more likely the time for dictating the answer (a 26-digit number) than the time for the mental calculation (the time of 28 seconds was quoted on her own website). Her correct answer was 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730. This event is mentioned on page 26 of the 1995 Guinness Book of Records ISBN 0-553-56942-2. In 2006 she released a new book called In the Wonderland of Numbers with Orient Paperbacks which talks about a girl Neha and her fascination for numbers.

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.

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.