Programming People


This is an extremely incomplete list of individuals who have been important in the history of computer programming for some reason. The list is subjective and I always welcome suggestions for additions to the list.

The List (Alphabetical)

  • Paul Allen – Co-founder of Microsoft, led development of MS-DOS.
  • Jeff Atwood – Authors the popular Coding Horror blog, co-founder of Stackoverflow and Discourse.
  • William Atkinson – Wrote HyperCard.
  • John Backus – Author of FORTRAN.
  • Sergey Brin – Co-founder of Google.
  • Howard Bromberg – Led a team that created COBOL.
  • Bram Cohen – Author of BitTorrent.
  • Ward Cunningham.
  • Dave Cutler – Led development of Win NT.
  • Ole-John Dahl – A co-author of Simula.
  • Edsger Dijkstra – Wrote “GO TO Considered Harmful” for Communications of the ACM.
  • Brendan Eich – Author of JavaScript.
  • Bill Gates – Co-founder of Microsoft, led development of MS-DOS.
  • James Gosling – Author of Oak, a predecessor to Java.
  • Ander Hejlsberg – Authored Turbo Pascal, architected Delphi and C#. Currently employed by Microsoft and works on TypeScript as well as continuing work on C#.
  • Grace Hopper – Wrote FLOW-MATIC, a language using less mathematics and more English.
  • Miguel de Icaza – Started Gnome, Mono, and Xamarin.
  • Kenneth Iverson – Wrote A Programming Language – first a book, then an actual language (APL).
  • John Kemeny – A co-author of BASIC.
  • Gary Kildall – Wrote CP/M, “the first commercially successful operating system for microcomputers…”
  • Thomas Kurtz – A co-author of BASIC.
  • Ada Lovelace – Often credited with writing the first computer program.
  • John McCarthy – Author of LISP.
  • Cleve Moler – Authored MATLAB.
  • Kristen Nygard – A co-author of Simula.
  • Mitchel Resnick – Led development of Scratch.
  • Dennis Ritchie – Co-author of UNIX, led a team that authored C.
  • Claude Shannon – Wrote The Mathematical Theory of Computation outlining how computers and people could communicate.
  • Joel Spolsky – Co-founded Stackoverflow, popular blogger on coding topics.
  • Richard Stallman – Founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and wrote numerous applications that are used in Linux.
  • Bjarne Stroustrup – Author of the book The C++ Programming Language, founder of C++.
  • Kenneth Thompson – Co-author of UNIX.
  • Linus Torvald – Author of Linux, Git.
  • Larry Wall – Wrote Perl.
  • Niklaus Wirth – Author of Pascal, also contributor to Algol 60.
  • Stephen Wolfram – Wrote Mathematica.
  • Phil Zimmerman – Author of PGP.
  • Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook.
  • Konrad Zuse – Wrote Plan Calculus, the “first algorithmic programming language.”