Which famous computer scientists or programmers have you met or are from where you live?

I’ve just learned that John Hughes is Welsh, and it got me wondering - which famous computer scientists or programmers have you met or are from where you live? :101:


I have met Robin Milner in 1994 but he was not Brazilian, of course. I have seen him in Cambridge, during an event. He was already a Turing Award recipient, but it didn’t know at the time. He created CCS.

I have met José Valim in February. :slight_smile: Can I say he is famous? We both studied at the University of São Paulo.


Of course José is famous, at least for Ruby, Erlang and Elixir communities. José deserves to be admired more than other languages’ creators, because other languages’ creators at least had some computer science background, but José doesn’t have a University degree (Sir @josevalim correct me if I’m wrong).

  • Linus Torvalds - No need for introduction.
  • Monty Widenius - Main author of MySQL.
  • Jarkko Oikarinen - Inventor of IRC.
  • Tatu Ylönen - Inventor of SSH.
  • Mikko Hyppönen - Chief Research Officer at F-Secure.
  • Timo Sirainen - Irssi/Dovecot.
  • Linda Liukas - Author of Hello Ruby programming book for children.

These are that come to mind first for my country (Finland :finland:). Sadly I have not met any of them in person.


Finland is a great country for computer science!

In Switzerland we have

  • Niklaus Wirth - Creator of Pascal
  • Eric Gamma - Gang of four co-author

None of them I met unfortunately.

The world wide web is born in my city, but don’t know if that count :slight_smile:

I am wondering what kind of book would be Hello Erlang, programming book for children



I’m not sure how famous these are, but they have Wikipedia pages :lol: (I haven’t met any unfortunately!)

John V. Tucker - Cardiff

John Vivian Tucker (born 1952) is a British computer scientist and expert on computability theory, also known as recursion theory. Computability theory is about what can and cannot be computed by people and machines. His work has focused on generalising the classical theory to deal with all forms of discrete/digital and continuous/analogue data; and on using the generalisations as formal methods for system design; and on the interface between algorithms and physical equipment.

John Lansdown - Cardiff

Robert John Lansdown (2 January 1929 Cardiff, Wales – 17 February 1999) was a British computer graphics pioneer,[1] polymath and Professor Emeritus at Middlesex University Lansdown Centre for Electronic Arts, which was renamed in his honour in 2000.

Donald Davies - Treorchy

Donald Watts Davies, CBE, FRS[1] (7 June 1924 – 28 May 2000) was a Welsh computer scientist who was employed at the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL). In 1965 he developed the concept of packet switching,[2][3] which is today the dominant basis for data communications in computer networks worldwide, and implemented it in the NPL network.[4][5] This was independent of the work of Paul Baran in the United States who had a similar idea in the early 1960s.[6] The ARPANET project, a precursor to the Internet, credited Davies for his influence.

And of course the aforementioned…

John Hughes - Wales (anyone know where in Wales?)

In 1984, Hughes received his PhD from the University of Oxford for the thesis “The Design and Implementation of Programming Languages”.[citation needed]

Hughes is a member of the Functional Programming group at Chalmers, and much of his research relates to the Haskell programming language. He does research in the field of programming languages and is the author of many influential research papers on the subject, including “Why Functional Programming Matters”.


Well there are probably too many to list! But we all know @pragdave and of course Tim Berners-Lee (father of the world wide web) and Alan Turing - the father of computing :purple_heart:

Yes of course! He’s the most famous person in Elixir :003:


Dude Alan Cox lives here in Swansea and worked at my university while developing the linux kernel :slight_smile:


AHAHAH I can’t belive ol’ j tuck came up on this forum!! he’s our HCI professor at swansea Uni! He’s such a legend so beloved on campus


Haha that’s awesome :023: though I think it’s more awesome that there’s someone in Wales into Elixir :003:


as of now, to my knowledge it makes 2 of us! I’m doing my master thesis in Elixir :slight_smile:

  • Martin Fowler - met him twice once at GOTO Berlin in my track and at RubyConf Portugal at a little pre dinner, after party, speaker dinner etc. - Incredibly nice and humble person - said he liked my talk (which was about Elixir and Phoenix). Honestly he’s the programmer I respect the most regarding his thinking about Software Development etc. so it meant a lot :smile:
  • Aaron Patterson - not sure he counts as famous here, but he’s in Ruby space. He’s Ruby and Rails core and very quirky, punny and funny. If I had one person represent the Ruby community it’d be him. Also Rubyconf Portugal :slight_smile:
  • José Valim - numerous occasions thankfully (most recently at Lambdadays)
  • Robert Virding - at Lambdadays as well, thanks @rvirding for hanging around here and everything again!
  • John Hughes - Lambdadays as well (you should come there, nice conference :wink: )
  • Joe Armstrong - Full Stack Fest 2016
  • Matz, creator of Ruby - some Full Stack Fest and Rubyconf

The above I really talked to in person to varying degrees, below a couple very famous people who gave guest lectures at my university:

  • Alan Kay - father of OOP and modern window based UIs iirc with a good love of the pipe organ lecture
  • Vint Cerf - one of the fathers of the Internet lecture
  • Lars Bak - I didn’t know him before but apparently he worked on some Smalltalk VM, then the JVM, then V8 and then Dart. Haven’t watched it in forever but I remember being fascinated by the lecture

José Valim was born in Porto Alegre, the same city I live in, in the south of Brazil.

He did graduate with an electrical engineering degree at University of São Paulo, and then did his master’s on computer science in Italy.


I met Ron Fagin at a mathematics conference a few years ago. Super nice guy.