Who are the most influential people in world?
Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!
Note: These rankings dynamically change as our AI learns new things and new publications and citations are made. Academics are actively researching and publishing new insights, leaving our measure of more recent influence subject to continual adjustments. While we delay real-time changes for quality assurance reasons, be not surprised as you see our rankings change over time.Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …
Unlike many other academic disciplines, the story of Computer Science from 1950 to 2000 is, arguably, the story of the launching and developing of the field itself. British mathematician and code breaker Alan Turing wrote the seminal paper for Artificial Intelligence (though term wasn’t coined for a few more years) in 1950 with the publication in the journal Mind of his “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” where he first introduced in writing his idea of the Imitation Game for computers and people, or what is now known as the eponymous Turing test.
1912 - 1954 (42 years)
Alan Mathison Turing was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist. Turing was highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of algorithm and computation with the Turing machine, which can be considered a model of a general-purpose computer. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Despite these accomplishments, he was never fully recognised in his home country during his lifetime due to the prev...
1938 - Present (83 years)
Knuth is professor emeritus of computer science at Stanford University. He received his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech). As an undergraduate at the Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University), Knuth received the extraordinary honor of receiving his bachelor of science degree together with a master of science in mathematics based on the strength of his work at Case. He also helped redesign an early IBM computer while at Case, and made fundamental contributions to programming—writing a program to help predict the scores of basketba...
1955 - Present (66 years)
William Henry Gates III is an American business magnate, software developer, and philanthropist. He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, chief executive officer , president and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He is one of the best-known entrepreneurs and pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.
1916 - 2001 (85 years)
Claude Elwood Shannon was an American mathematician, electrical engineer, and cryptographer known as "the father of information theory". Shannon is noted for having founded information theory with a landmark paper, "A Mathematical Theory of Communication", which he published in 1948.
1903 - 1957 (54 years)
John von Neumann was a Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, computer scientist, engineer and polymath. Von Neumann was generally regarded as the foremost mathematician of his time and said to be "the last representative of the great mathematicians"; he integrated pure and applied sciences.
1906 - 1978 (72 years)
Kurt Friedrich Gödel was a logician, mathematician, and analytic philosopher. Considered along with Aristotle and Gottlob Frege to be one of the most significant logicians in history, Gödel had an immense effect upon scientific and philosophical thinking in the 20th century, a time when others such as Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead, and David Hilbert were analyzing the use of logic and set theory to understand the foundations of mathematics pioneered by Georg Cantor.
1942 - Present (79 years)
Peter James Denning is an American computer scientist and writer. He is best known for pioneering work in virtual memory, especially for inventing the working-set model for program behavior, which addressed thrashing in operating systems and became the reference standard for all memory management policies. He is also known for his works on principles of operating systems, operational analysis of queueing network systems, design and implementation of CSNET, the ACM digital library, codifying the great principles of computing, and most recently for the book The Innovator's Way, on innovation a...
1903 - 1995 (92 years)
Alonzo Church was an American mathematician and logician who made major contributions to mathematical logic and the foundations of theoretical computer science. He is best known for the lambda calculus, Church–Turing thesis, proving the unsolvability of the Entscheidungsproblem, Frege–Church ontology, and the Church–Rosser theorem. He also worked on philosophy of language .
1934 - Present (87 years)
Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare is a British computer scientist. He developed the sorting algorithm quicksort in 1959–1960. He also developed Hoare logic for verifying program correctness, and the formal language communicating sequential processes to specify the interactions of concurrent processeses and the inspiration for the programming language occam.
1927 - 2016 (89 years)
Marvin Lee Minsky was an American cognitive and computer scientist concerned largely with research of artificial intelligence , co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's AI laboratory, and author of several texts concerning AI and philosophy.
1815 - 1852 (37 years)
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She is believed by some to be the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and to have published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first to recognise the full potential of computers and as one of the first to be a computer programmer.
1791 - 1871 (80 years)
Charles Babbage was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage originated the concept of a digital programmable computer.
1927 - 1992 (65 years)
Allen Newell was a researcher in computer science and cognitive psychology at the RAND Corporation and at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, Tepper School of Business, and Department of Psychology. He contributed to the Information Processing Language and two of the earliest AI programs, the Logic Theory Machine and the General Problem Solver . He was awarded the ACM's A.M. Turing Award along with Herbert A. Simon in 1975 for their basic contributions to artificial intelligence and the psychology of human cognition.
1960 - 2008 (48 years)
Randolph Frederick Pausch was an American educator, a professor of computer science, human–computer interaction, and design at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1930 - 2002 (72 years)
Edsger Wybe Dijkstra was a Dutch computer scientist, programmer, software engineer, systems scientist, science essayist, and pioneer in computing science. A theoretical physicist by training, he worked as a programmer at the Mathematisch Centrum from 1952 to 1962. A university professor for much of his life, Dijkstra held the Schlumberger Centennial Chair in Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin from 1984 until his retirement in 1999. He was a professor of mathematics at the Eindhoven University of Technology and a research fellow at the Burroughs Corporation . In 1972, he ...
1928 - 2016 (88 years)
Peter Naur was a Danish computer science pioneer and Turing award winner. He is best known as a contributor, with John Backus, to the Backus–Naur form notation used in describing the syntax for most programming languages. He also contributed to creating the language ALGOL 60.
1941 - Present (80 years)
Parnas earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He has taught as a professor at numerous universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Victoria in Canada, and the University of Limerick in Ireland.
1927 - 2011 (84 years)
John McCarthy was an American computer scientist and cognitive scientist. McCarthy was one of the founders of the discipline of artificial intelligence. He co-authored the document that coined the term "artificial intelligence" , developed the Lisp programming language family, significantly influenced the design of the ALGOL programming language, popularized time-sharing, invented garbage collection, and was very influential in the early development of AI.
1955 - 2011 (56 years)
Steven Paul Jobs was an American business magnate, industrial designer, investor, and media proprietor. He was the chairman, chief executive officer , and co-founder of Apple Inc., the chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar, a member of The Walt Disney Company's board of directors following its acquisition of Pixar, and the founder, chairman, and CEO of NeXT. Jobs is widely recognized as a pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s, along with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
1941 - Present (80 years)
Leslie B. Lamport is an American computer scientist. Lamport is best known for his seminal work in distributed systems, and as the initial developer of the document preparation system LaTeX and the author of its first manual. Leslie Lamport was the winner of the 2013 Turing Award for imposing clear, well-defined coherence on the seemingly chaotic behavior of distributed computing systems, in which several autonomous computers communicate with each other by passing messages. He devised important algorithms and developed formal modeling and verification protocols that improve the quality of rea
1928 - Present (93 years)
Noam Chomsky currently holds joint appointments at MIT as Institute Professor Emeritus, and the University of Arizona as Laureate Professor. Chomsky completed his university studies between the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.
1894 - 1964 (70 years)
Norbert Wiener was an American mathematician and philosopher. He was a professor of mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology . A child prodigy, Wiener later became an early researcher in stochastic and mathematical noise processes, contributing work relevant to electronic engineering, electronic communication, and control systems.
1938 - Present (83 years)
Ivan Edward Sutherland is an American computer scientist and Internet pioneer, widely regarded as a pioneer of computer graphics. His early work in computer graphics as well as his teaching with David C. Evans in that subject at the University of Utah in the 1970s was pioneering in the field. Sutherland, Evans, and their students from that era developed several foundations of modern computer graphics. He received the Turing Award from the Association for Computing Machinery in 1988 for the invention of Sketchpad, an early predecessor to the sort of graphical user interface that has become
1906 - 1992 (86 years)
Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first linkers. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, an early high-level programming language still in use today.
1928 - 2016 (88 years)
Seymour Aubrey Papert was a South African-born American mathematician, computer scientist, and educator, who spent most of his career teaching and researching at MIT. He was one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, and of the constructionist movement in education. He was co-inventor, with Wally Feurzeig and Cynthia Solomon, of the Logo programming language.
1940 - Present (81 years)
Alan Curtis Kay is an American computer scientist. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Royal Society of Arts. He is best known for his pioneering work on object-oriented programming and windowing graphical user interface design.
1947 - Present (74 years)
Gerald Jay Sussman is the Panasonic Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned an S.B. and Ph.D. in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studying under Seymour Papert.
1955 - Present (66 years)
Tim Berners-Lee (also called “TimBL” or “TBL”) is a Professorial Fellow of Computer Science at the University of Oxford and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Berners-Lee is best known for inventing a markup language, the Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) that has (of course) become the basis for Web pages. In a very real sense, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web! And more. In 2016, Berners-Lee received the prestigious Turing Award for “for inventing the World Wide Web, the first web browser, and the fundamental protocols and algorithms allowing the Web to sc...
1941 - 2011 (70 years)
Dennis MacAlistair Ritchie was an American computer scientist. He created the C programming language and, with long-time colleague Ken Thompson, the Unix operating system and B programming language. Ritchie and Thompson were awarded the Turing Award from the ACM in 1983, the Hamming Medal from the IEEE in 1990 and the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton in 1999. Ritchie was the head of Lucent Technologies System Software Research Department when he retired in 2007. He was the "R" in K&R C, and commonly known by his username dmr.
1934 - Present (87 years)
Niklaus Emil Wirth is a Swiss computer scientist. He has designed several programming languages, including Pascal, and pioneered several classic topics in software engineering. In 1984 he won the Turing Award, generally recognized as the highest distinction in computer science, for developing a sequence of innovative computer languages.
1916 - 1975 (59 years)
Christopher S. Strachey was a British computer scientist. He was one of the founders of denotational semantics, and a pioneer in programming language design and computer time-sharing. He was a member of the Strachey family, prominent in government, arts, administration, and academia.
1938 - Present (83 years)
Manuel Blum is the Bruce Nelson Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Born in Venezuela, Blum has had an impressive career working on the theoretical underpinnings of programming and algorithms, notably computational complexity theory (roughly, how long it takes a program to solve a problem), cryptography (code making and breaking), and program verification and checking, an area of immense importance to practical software development.
1953 - Present (68 years)
Richard Matthew Stallman , often known by his initials, rms, and occasionally upper-case RMS, is an American free software movement activist and programmer. He campaigns for software to be distributed in a manner such that its users receive the freedoms to use, study, distribute, and modify that software. Software that ensures these freedoms is termed free software. Stallman launched the GNU Project, founded the Free Software Foundation, developed the GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Emacs, and wrote the GNU General Public License.
1917 - 1972 (55 years)
George Elmer Forsythe was the founder and head of Stanford University's Computer Science Department. George came to Stanford in the Mathematics Department in 1959, and served as professor and chairman of the Computer Science department from 1965 until his death. Forsythe served as the president of the Association for Computing Machinery , and also co-authored four books on computer science and a fifth on meteorology, and edited more than 75 other books on computer science.
1945 - Present (76 years)
Douglas Richard Hofstadter is an American scholar of cognitive science, physics, and comparative literature whose research includes concepts such as the sense of self in relation to the external world, consciousness, analogy-making, artistic creation, literary translation, and discovery in mathematics and physics. His 1979 book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid won both the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction and a National Book Award for Science. His 2007 book I Am a Strange Loop won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Science and Technology.
1924 - 2014 (90 years)
Thelma Estrin was an American computer scientist and engineer who did pioneering work in the fields of expert systems and biomedical engineering. She was one of the first to apply computer technology to healthcare and medical research. She was professor emerita in the Department of Computer Science, University of California at Los Angeles.
1815 - 1864 (49 years)
George Boole was a largely self-taught English mathematician, philosopher and logician, most of whose short career was spent as the first professor of mathematics at Queen's College, Cork in Ireland. He worked in the fields of differential equations and algebraic logic, and is best known as the author of The Laws of Thought which contains Boolean algebra. Boolean logic is credited with laying the foundations for the information age. Boole maintained that:
1919 - 1996 (77 years)
Harlan D. Mills was Professor of Computer Science at the Florida Institute of Technology and founder of Software Engineering Technology, Inc. of Vero Beach, Florida . Mills' contributions to software engineering have had a profound and enduring effect on education and industrial practice. Since earning his Ph.D. in Mathematics at Iowa State University in 1952, Mills led a distinguished career.
1910 - 1995 (85 years)
Konrad Zuse was a German civil engineer, pioneering computer scientist, inventor and businessman. His greatest achievement was the world's first programmable computer; the functional program-controlled Turing-complete Z3 became operational in May 1941. Thanks to this machine and its predecessors, Zuse has often been regarded as the inventor of the modern computer.
1949 - Present (72 years)
Christos Harilaos Papadimitriou is a Greek theoretical computer scientist and the Donovan Family Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University.
1947 - Present (74 years)
Hal Abelson is the founding director of Creative Commons and the Free Software Foundation and a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
1932 - Present (89 years)
Dana Stewart Scott is an American logician who is the emeritus Hillman University Professor of Computer Science, Philosophy, and Mathematical Logic at Carnegie Mellon University; he is now retired and lives in Berkeley, California. His work on automata theory earned him the ACM Turing Award in 1976, while his collaborative work with Christopher Strachey in the 1970s laid the foundations of modern approaches to the semantics of programming languages. He has worked also on modal logic, topology, and category theory.
1949 - Present (72 years)
Kurt Mehlhorn is a German theoretical computer scientist. He has been a vice president of the Max Planck Society and is director of the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science.
1592 - 1635 (43 years)
Wilhelm Schickard was a German professor of Hebrew and astronomy who became famous in the second part of the 20th century after Franz Hammer, a biographer of Johannes Kepler, claimed that the drawings of a calculating clock, predating the public release of Pascal's calculator by twenty years, had been discovered in two unknown letters written by Schickard to Johannes Kepler in 1623 and 1624.
1948 - Present (73 years)
Raymond Kurzweil is an American inventor and futurist. He is involved in fields such as optical character recognition , text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. He has written books on health, artificial intelligence , transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism. Kurzweil is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements and gives public talks to share his optimistic outlook on life extension technologies and the future of nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology.
1937 - Present (84 years)
Reddy is the founding director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. The Robotics Institute at CMU is perhaps the world’s best center for robotics research in the world. (Robotics Business Review called it a “pacesetter in robotics research and education” in 2014.) Reddy is the Moza Bint Nasser Chair of Computer Science at CMU, and has been professor of computer science at Stanford during his stellar career of five decades. Reddy has had a major influence on the development of the field of robotics in artificial intelligence.
1949 - 2003 (54 years)
Anita Borg was an American computer scientist. She founded the Institute for Women and Technology and the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
1931 - 2017 (86 years)
Peter A. Wegner was a computer scientist who made significant contributions to both the theory of object-oriented programming during the 1980s and to the relevance of the Church–Turing thesis for empirical aspects of computer science during the 1990s and present. In 2016, Wegner wrote a brief autobiography for Conduit, the annual Brown University Computer Science department magazine.
1984 - Present (37 years)
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an American media magnate, internet entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is known for co-founding Facebook, Inc. and serves as its chairman, chief executive officer, and controlling shareholder. He also is a co-founder of the solar sail spacecraft development project Breakthrough Starshot and serves as one of its board members.
1943 - Present (78 years)
Vinton Grey Cerf is one of the founding fathers of the Internet. He received his degree in mathematics from Stanford University. After a two year stint as an engineer working on QUICKTRAN, an early computer language based on FORTRAN, Cerf received his masters and his Ph.D. in computer science at UCLA.