Whenever you crack open your laptop, perhaps the last thing on your mind are all of the people who made it possible to use the tools that we often take for granted everyday that changed the computer world.
Long before you were jailbreaking your Firestick so you could stream your favorite shows, there were a series of developments which made all of this tech we live with today possible. And sometimes, it’s nice to give credit where credit is due.
The truth is, without the developments in computer science that have occurred over the last century, none of this would even be possible. And the fact that you’re able to read this post right now is the direct result of years of research and development.
So let’s meet the great minds that changed the computer world who put in the hard work to make all of the tech that we love today available for all to use.
You may have heard of a thing called the Turing Test. Well, this test is still administered today to test the “humanness” of artificial intelligence (AI) designs. But long ago, Alan Turing was responsible for building one of the first “thinking machines,” and subsequently broke everything from codes to Victorian law.
Turing was a student of mathematical logic. And he’s often credited with being one of the founding progenitors of modern day computing.
During WWII, Turing was selected to become part of a team of cryptoanalysts in attempts to break Nazi code messages dubbed “Enigma” for the Allied Powers. During this process, he created what was referred to as the Bombe, an elaborate machine which was able to process data and piece together coded information.
Turing’s subsequent work set the foundation for how digital computers are developed today, paving the way for numerous advancements in computer science. Though despite his grand efforts, sadly, he was convicted as a crimnal due to his homosexuality under British Victorian law and chemically castrated as punishment.
Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis
The duo Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis were two Duke University graduate students who, in 1979, developed what they called Usenet.
Usenet was what Tom Truscott referred to as the “poor man’s” ARPANET, a network that mimicked the technology of the U.S. Military Advanced Research Projects Agency Network using Unix-to-Unix proxy servers.
Initially, Usenet was created in Truscott and Ellis’ spare time as a means to more effectively share bulletins and messages with colleagues because the university messaging system didn’t work very well. What was born from this was the first online message board.
Today, Usenet is still a separate network, set apart from the Internet. However, you can access it via using a Usenet service provider. And many believe that without this simple “spare time” contribution to computer science, the online world today would look much different.
If anyone next to Bill Gates is synonymous with the computer world, it’s the legendary Steve Jobs.
In 1976, Steve Jobs along with his partner Steve Wozniak developed and created the very first Apple computer in the garage of Jobs’ family home. Steve Jobs was just 21 at the time of this development. And after linking up with Bill Gates, the computer became a sensation across the country in the early 1980’s.
But the original Apple computer is only the tip of the spear when it comes to what Steve Jobs did for the tech world.
In 2007, as CEO of Apple, Jobs revealed his latest brainchild, the original Apple iPhone. And it was this handheld device that has changed the way everyone communicates, shares, socializes, works, and searches for information to this day.
All in all, there are several great minds which have contributed to the vast network of technology that we all rely on today. And without these bright men and women of computer science, we may all be still reading our news from a paper.