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Most admired person in CS field

Hi all !

Maybe you could enlighten me about the work of your most admired person in CS field. What make him/her stands out? And if possible link to their work or personal homepage/blogs.

Thank you

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Donald Knuth, Edsger Dijkstra, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Bjarne Stroustrup, Larry Wall, John Carmack, Steve Wozniak, etc.

Donald Knuth it's the ultimate programmer. His dedication it's second to none.

Dijsktra it's the romantic guy. You have to read the EWDs if you really want to know something about the early stages of Computer Science.

Kernighan and Ritchie... well, The C Programming Language it's required reading, and Stroustrup's The C++ Programming Language it's important, too.

Larry Wall it's an incredible man... his field of specialization is linguistics, and he bringed that to computers. I like to "talk" perl.

John Carmack it's an amazing guy. I like him because the entire gaming world changed when he pulled something absolutely unseen from his hat. He did it with Commander Keen, did it again with Wolfenstein 3D, did it again (big time) with Doom and Doom 2, did it again with Quake, Quake 2, blowed everyone's minds with Quake 3, and now we are all drooling over his work on Doom 3. If you don't find that impressive, take into account that he never received any formal training. Also, his modesty (except when buying cars :-)) is welcome in this world of superstars.

Hm... Oh, almost forgot, my most admired person over the Internet? Asia Carrera, of course :-)

Leonardo Herrera
Thursday, September 26, 2002

I suppose you wrote your post the way you did because the education system has stressed computer science over software engineering.  Personally, I don't have much use for computer scientists (or people who call themselves software engineers), but if I had to pick one it would be Donald Knuth.  Unless you are planning to make a career for yourself in academia,  I suggest you forget about computer science.

I guess the person that I admire the most would be Steve McConnell.  McConnell's home page is  Besides having his own consulting company and being a noted book author he is also the Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Software.

I choose Steve McConnell because:

*  He wrote some good books about the mythical "correct approach" to software development as opposed to  “code and fix” software development.

*  He runs his company in a way I believe more (a lot more) consulting firms should.

*  He has written a lot of production code over the years.

*  He believes in a engineering approach to software development instead of the Just Friggin Do It approach that most companies promote.

Imo, his last book "After the Gold Rush" (1999) was a real disappointment.  In this book he talks extensively about  creating a real software engineering profession and leaving behind the far too common code-and-fix method that many people and companies are still using.  Sounds like a good thing right?  Well, the problem is that you can't just clean up one part of an industry (eliminate deadwood techies) and expect much to change.  In our industry (like most others) the golden rule is, "whomever holds the gold makes the rules".  In other words, requiring people to follow a code of ethics and have a license prior to practicing their craft would accomplish very little by itself.

Charles Kiley
Friday, September 27, 2002

Joel! Joel! Joel! Joel!

Matt Watson
Friday, September 27, 2002

Interesting question.  I don't really have a favorite CS person, but in the realm of programmers Steve McConnell and Larry Wall are my favorites to read.

Interesting book:

_Out of Their Minds: The Lives and Discoveries of 15 Great Computer Scientists_

Friday, September 27, 2002

I had the pleasure of taking a course from Djikstra at UT Austin.  I had the displeasure of getting a B.  One of my great regrets, considering it was solely due to nervousness.  Nevertheless, he's one figure I admire very much, and Herrera describes the reason quite well.

Knuth, K&R, Wall, and Carmack are also very worthy.

I also admire Guy Steele for his work on Lisp, Java, and The Jargon File.  Eric S. Raymond as well for the JF.  Gosling for Java.  Torvalds for Linux.  Turing for his Machine.  Goedel, for some of the math.  David Gries, for The Science of Programming.

These are the Mozarts of the field, prodigies who came, who saw, and who created wonderful things.  Moreover, they shared them freely, adding immeasurably to the value of computer science, not just as a natural science, but as a source of rich lore.

More accurately, these are figures of whom I am in awe.  As for those I admire, that's a far bigger list.  I admire everyone who comes into the field, decides it's enjoyable, accepts the culture of programmers, and demonstrates talent.  It's absolutely amazing how many people I've met who are capable of writing heaps of quality code, working long nights to do it, working like a fevered artist with a creative flash, who are then driven to share it with the public, and who gladly accept praise with humility and humor.  There are thousands of them, and I haven't met them all yet.  I love this field...

Paul Brinkley
Friday, September 27, 2002

Damian Conway

Evgeny Goldin
Friday, September 27, 2002

Without a doubt Turing.

Sorry, I seem to have misplaced the tickertape with the URL for Allan's blog? Then again, I recall it was all encrypted, and wasn't updated in years.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, September 27, 2002

Martin Fowler:

Author of Refactoring, Analysis Patterns, Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture, and a couple other books that have helped me greatly. I think his work stand out to me because he focuses on making development easier through kowledge sharing and agile methodologies. Most development problems I have seen in the past canot be solved with a fancy algorithm or math genius. Projects and applications usually fail because of flaws in the development process, not because technical difficulties couldn't be overcome.

Ian Stallings
Friday, September 27, 2002

I dunno, but I'll say that Philip Greenspun's book, "Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing" was the most entertaining technical book I've ever read.  Actually, come to think of it, it's the ONLY entertaining technical book I've ever read.

Alex Chernavsky
Friday, September 27, 2002

Who's Asia Carrera? an asian developer?

Friday, September 27, 2002

"Who's Asia Carrera?"

She's the person who comes up when you type "asia  carrera" into Google.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Knuth's sublime Art of Computer Programming will always have a special place in my heart. I knew I was going to like as soon as I skimmed through it and was amazed by the sheer beauty of the typography in it (have you ever looked at it? It's beautiful, a testament to the greatness of TeX.), and so I must choose Knuth. He is the quintessential computer scientist; his writings are profound, voluminous, and lucid.

If we're going to name people from industry like Carmack or Joel, I pick Guido van Rossum, even though he isn't quite as charismatic as Larry Wall. Python is beautiful; its source code looks like psuedocode. Knuth and Guido both demonstrate that computer science is not without a sense of aesthetics...


Warren Henning
Saturday, September 28, 2002

As an opportunity to name drop...

I've worked for or around most of these.

Chuck Peddle  6502 designer.  Sirius 1/Victor 9000, Tandon Data Pac
Gary Kildall CP/M designer, Digital Research and of course the Logo language.
Fred Francis Computer Systems lecturer, student of Alan Turing (as close as I'm ever likely to get to Turing)
Hermann Hauser Acorn Computers amongst many others dragged British schools into computing in education.
Brian Kernighan as much for Software Tools in Pascal/C as the C language (nope haven't worked for with him)
Dennis Ritchie The C Language (natch) and his various columns.  (nope haven't worked for or with him either)

I'd add Donald Knuth but then he co-authored a truly awful science fiction book.

Simon P. Lucy
Saturday, September 28, 2002

What a hard question.  I couldn't think of a good answer for someone who really made me feel happy about computing science; maybe Stallman, the Sussmen, and Abelson.  Hofstadter.

But I'd say Steve Jobs.  The question has remained the same -- what is computing good for, what does it mean to people?  But the focus is away from the technical.  So, he's obviously untrustworthy and a plagiarist, and his machines have really big problems that make them not worth the premium, but maybe him & Stallman are #1.

Actually, no doubt there were many around the world like Descartes who independently wondered about the limits of mechanical reasoning.  Too bard their writings are lost to us...

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Simon, did you work for Gary Kildall, Digital Research?

Diego Alban
Sunday, September 29, 2002

I would like to list people like Date and Celko on database work. Well, most of the apps use SQL those days and they are really "useful" authors.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Grace Hopper.


a historical figure, true.  But that idea of a compiler
has seemed to stick.

Lauren B.
Monday, September 30, 2002

Grace Hopper?  How 'bout Linda Lovelace?  She supposedly wrote the first program:

Monday, September 30, 2002

I worked for Digital Research, yes Diego.  Though Gary Kildall was pretty much out of it by then.  I only met him once at the end of DRI, welcome Novell new owners bash.

DRI had been a large part of my professional life and it became a major part of my personal life for abouot two years.

Simon P. Lucy
Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Heh.  I believe you meant, "Ada Lovelace."

Linda Lovelace is slightly less admired in the CS Field than Asia Carrera.

David Blume
Tuesday, October 1, 2002

who the hell is this asia carrera?

Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Asia Carrera, according to her website:


"a 100% self-taught computer geek"


Someday I hope the internet aspires to more than just porn and stock quotes...

Maybe that will be the Internet2?

Guy Incognito
Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Who is Asia Carrera?

Back to the theme of the discussion:
Knuth is my favorite "CS" guy. I set a life goal to complete all of the questions less than or equal to 30 in the first volume of The Art of Computer Programming Vol1.

Sunday, October 6, 2002

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