Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Who Are the Top 100 i-Technology Heroes?

Programming Titans and Top Hackers Galore Were Missing from the Original List

>>> Here is the original Slashdotted article with the first hundred names <<<

What do Vannevar Bush (pictured), Doug Engelbart, Claude E. Shannon, and Konrad Zuse (to name but a few) all have in common? All were missing from the initial round-up I recently published in an attempt to nail down - by consensus - the top 100 contributors of all-time to i-Technology, to the nexus of technologies that first spawned the Internet, and since have helped maintain and expand it.

They were not the only absentees. Others nominated included: Jonathan Rotenberg - founder of the Boston Computer Society; Jonathan Ive,  the principal designer of the iMac and iPod; and the winner of the 1999 Turing Award, Fred Brooks.

All the above suggestions derive from the Slashdotting of our search for the best possible nominees. Some of the Slashdot posts were mini-essays in their own right, providing insights into why a particular name was being put forward. Take for example this submission from Lars Arvestad of the school of Computer Science and Communication at Sweden's largest IT university, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Arvestad was responding to a Slashdotter who'd questioned my inclusion of Jamie Zawinski in the list.

In what sense was James W. Zawinski an i-Technology Hero, was the question. Here's Arvestad's answer, reproduced here with the author's permission:

"The word 'hero' should of course be used sparingly, and probably not in adjunction to 'tech', but JWZ holds his place among the Big Hackers, IMHO. Some of his accomplishments, in no particular order:
  • XEmacs. He was one of (the?) main people making a user-friendly version of GNU Emacs.
  • XKeyCaps. This little application has really helped me getting a sane keyboard layout under X a few times.
  • Mosaic. I believe he was the main hacker on the Unix version of the first 'real' browser. And one of the first employees at Netscape."

Arvestad's thoroughness was matched by many visitors to SYS-CON.com, who have been submitting names fast and furiously since the moment the piece went live on Sunday. They included [names of submitters in square brackets]:

  • Steve Bellovin, Gene Spafford, Roger Schell, David Bell/Len Lapadula [Jeremy Epstein]
  • Fred Brooks [Jim Scandale]
  • Leon Post [anon]
  • Ward Christensen, Randy Seuss [Ron Blessing]
  • Claude E. Shannon [Kelly Meck]
  • Michael J. Muuss [Lee Butler]
  • And the wider blogosphere too, I am pleased to say, has become involved. In true "Wisdom of Crowds" style, commentators have been adding to our growing list and indeed compiling their own.

    Gary Cornell, founder and Publisher at Apress and vigorous blogger, was the first to realize - as he put it - "No Woz??"

    "Woz is my hero," Cornell continued. (My bad for neglecting him, sorry everyone!) "You probably want Seymour Cray, he is more important than Hillis I think," he added. And Grace Hopper was another name Cornell noticed was absent. 

    Neither was he by any means the only A-blogger to draw attention to oversights and inconsistencies. Just as Cornell was quick to mention to omission of Admiral Grace Hopper, who created FLOW-MATIC that later inspired COBOL, so Ben Forta immediately noticed the conspicuous absence of Steve Jobs.

    He also came up with two quite excellent submissions:
    "Philippe Kahn, who (via Borland) forced all developers to rethink what IDEs should look like, and who is responsible for forcing Microsoft to invest in languages and visual development tools, which subsequently forced the creation of Eclipse, and so on. Before Philippe, and the Borland Turbo languages, compilers were arcane command line utilities, debuggers were miserable, language help was never readily available, and the development process was anything but integrated. Borland were the first to truly get integrated IDEs, and much of what we rely on today is still a derivative of that thinking.

    Peter Norton, who while now most closely associated with Symantec products that bear his name, originally created lots of useful utilities (including an amazing DOS shell replacement). But best of all, he wrote the classic "Inside the IBM PC" and followed that title with equally important books, books that helped create an entire generation of developers back in the 80s when this entire industry was learning to crawl. Even though these books are long obsolete, they remain proudly and prominently placed in my library because they were so influential to me personally, and to so many others."

    Troy Angrignon, like Forta, was bemused by the omission of Jobs. He then added three excellent new names to the list, and I include his comments:
    "Jaron Lanier: Alleged coiner of the term 'virtual reality' and generally interesting and eclectic social critic. Nominated for pushing the boundaries technologically but more importantly, having the will to speak up about culture at the same time.

    Nicholas Negroponte: Father of the MIT Media Lab which was the first place I know of that: didn't accept military funding, had an open access license for sponsors (where every sponsor got to see every project), and which put a kindergarten near the robotics lab and beside the music studio "because they're all related." I'm nominating him for his long-standing dream of building the $100 crank-powered laptop that could be used to bridge the digital divide. It is "impossible" dreams like this that push the human race forward.

    Jeff Hawkins: For recognizing that in order for a PDA market to be created, he had to throw out all previous assumptions (such as those that drove the failed Apple Newton project) and start with three key principles that drove the entire design: it had to fit in most shirt pockets, it had to work all day without running out of power, and it had to be simple to operate. Even more importantly, in doing so, he sacrificed some key assumptions that had killed other products, namely, that it had to be able to deal with hand-writing recognition. He recognized that that one criteria required too much power and speed to make it a reality and sacrificed it in a bet that won him the fastest product ramp ever up until that point."

    Meantime Mark Hinkle and Yakov Fain have both chipped in with their own additions: Joe Celko, Tim O'Reilly, Steve Jobs (Fain); Michael Stonebreaker, Jarkko Oikarinen, Bram Cohen, Jerry Yang, and David Filo (Hinkle).

    The next stage of the exercise, then, is clear: I need to compile the original list of 40, the additional list of 60, and the 50 or so additions that have been arriving non-stop into a definitive list of the Top 150 i-Technology Heroes of All Time. Watch this space!

    To add your own nomination, just add it to the thread here. Thanks for participating!!

    More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

    Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

    Comments (9) View Comments

    Share your thoughts on this story.

    Add your comment
    You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

    In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


    Most Recent Comments
    a few more... 02/06/07 04:04:12 PM EST

    Presper Eckert (ENIAC)
    Alex Stepanov (STL)
    J.C.R. Licklider (ARPA)
    Charles Goldfarb et al (SGML)
    Jim Clarke (Silicon Graphics, Netscape)

    Agree this is in part a popularity contest. Some of the ones on the original list were influential tech CEOs or Chief Architects in their time, but does that Hall of Fame material?

    And if you say "Myrhvold", I think you must also say Bruce and ESR....

    aNoN 02/06/07 09:14:58 AM EST

    How about Gerrit Blaauw? Blaauw is the principal designer of the System/360 Model 67 and the software (CP-67), and this was the first system to implement the VM (virtual machine) concept, at least in early form.

    mrright 02/06/07 08:52:09 AM EST

    How dare they omit john backus? He invented fortran, which is still the most often used language for scientific calculations. And he pioneered functional programming.

    He deserves to be on top of this list for one publication alone. Here it is: http://www.stanford.edu/class/cs242/readings/backus.pdf

    electro 02/06/07 08:48:50 AM EST

    Where is Nolan Bushnell, creator of pong, which launched a generation of games that could be plugged into the TV, ancestor to the xbox, playstation, and nintendo?

    bozdune 02/06/07 08:46:54 AM EST

    there are plenty of brilliant programmers who wrote brilliant stuff and did brilliant things whom nobody will ever hear of -- Don Eyles comes to mind, the guy who saved Apollo 11 when a bug was discovered in the LEM while it was in orbit around the Moon. Eyles got a medal. He fixed the bug, but those were the days of plated-wire memory, where you could only turn bits off. Now try fixing the bug.

    Another guy saved an out-of-control Air Force weather satellite by pulling nights and weekends to recode the guidance system to use the one remaining nitrogen thrusters and the two remaining reaction wheels.

    Wartime Addition 02/06/07 08:30:25 AM EST

    I have a chilling addition: Arthur Scherbius, the inventor of the Enigma Machine, who developed and patented the machine for the commercial market before the Nazis hit upon the idea of using it throughout the German armed forces as the standard method of encrypting messages prior to radio transmission.

    Norwegian Blue 02/06/07 07:53:53 AM EST

    Don't forget Kirsten Nygaard and Ole-Johan Dahl who invented object oriented programming.

    deconvolution 02/06/07 07:53:08 AM EST

    Where is John Carmack and other game programmers (fill your favourite game designer here)???

    I couldnt understand why he is not greater and more important than such as Don Ferguson: Inventor of the J2EE application server at IBM, or even Jon Gay: The "Father of Flash". ???

    Is flash a ground-breaking application like 3D game/movie engine development?

    dpilot 02/06/07 07:45:35 AM EST

    Randy Waterhouse - he invented one of the early computers, complete with accoustic delay lines.

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
    A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
    Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
    In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
    Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
    Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
    Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
    No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
    Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
    In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
    "IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
    When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
    Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
    We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
    Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
    DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
    In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
    Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
    "Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
    The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...