Engineering Team Question #2
Who do you believe to be the greatest computer scientist/engineer of all time?
Rohan Puranik: Alan Turing & Donald Knuth. In terms of software engineers, Jeff Dean & Sanjay Ghemawat (both at Google) come to mind. They have co-authored, along with other brilliant folks, the Google File System paper, the MapReduce paper and most recently the Spanner paper (on Google’s distributed database). They are celebrities to me (and pretty much every other software engineer, especially people interested in distributed systems).
Will Chou: John McCarthy, computer scientist and cognitive scientist, father of “artificial intelligence”, he made me feel computer science is awesome.
Earl St. Sauver: Well, I expect that this will break with the mold, but my favorite computer scientist was originally a physicist: Stephen Wolfram. You might know him as the CEO and Wolfram Research, the company that produced Wolfram Alpha and Mathematica. Wolfram started mathematica as a way of doing symbolic (instead of numerical) calculations with a computer, and the resulting product Mathematica has evolved into makes working with math, physics, and any other hard science an order of magnitude easier. He’s also hugely controversial though as he believes that computers can be used to do a sort of fundamental “experimental math,” but it’s undeniable that his products are pushing the bounds of what we can do with data.
Tim Mwangi: Linus Torvalds. He hacked up a kernel that you have probably heard of, Linux. Oh, he also created Git revision control system.