© 2013

Giants of Computing

A Compendium of Select, Pivotal Pioneers


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 1-7
  3. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 9-11
  4. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 13-16
  5. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 17-19
  6. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 21-23
  7. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 25-30
  8. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 31-34
  9. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 35-38
  10. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 39-42
  11. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 43-46
  12. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 47-52
  13. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 53-57
  14. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 59-62
  15. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 63-65
  16. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 67-70
  17. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 71-74
  18. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 75-79
  19. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 81-85
  20. Gerard O’Regan
    Pages 87-90

About this book


It has been upon the shoulders of giants that the modern world has been forged. 

This accessible compendium presents an insight into the great minds responsible for the technology which has transformed our lives. Each pioneer is introduced with a brief biography, followed by a concise account of their key contributions to their discipline. The selection covers a broad spread of historical and contemporary figures from theoreticians to entrepreneurs, highlighting the richness of the field of computing. 

Topics and features:

  • Describes the lives and machines built by Hermann Hollerith, Vannevar Bush, Howard Aiken, John Atanasoff, Tommy Flowers, John Mauchly, and Konrad Zuse
  • Examines the contributions made by Claude Shannon, John Von Neumann, Alan Turing, and Sir Frederick Williams
  • Reviews such pioneers of commercial computing as John Backus, Fred Brooks, Gordon Moore, William Shockley, Vint Cerf, Don Estridge, Gary Kildall, and Tim Berners-Lee
  • Surveys pivotal software engineers, including Robert Floyd, C.A.R Hoare, Dines Bjorner, Edger Dijkstra, Tom DeMarco, Michael Fagan, Watt Humphries, Ivor Jacobson, David Parnas, and Ed Yourdan
  • Discusses important characters in theoretical computing, such as James Gosling, Grace Murray Hopper, Kenneth Iverson, Donald Knuth, Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson, Dana Scott, Christopher Strachey, Bjarne Stroustroup, and Niklaus Wirth
  • Includes significant contributors to the field of artificial intelligence, including John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, John Searle, and Joseph Weizenbaum
  • Presents a selection of computer entrepreneurs, including Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Ken Olsen, and Thomas Watson Sr. and Jr. 
Suitable for the general reader, this concise and easy-to-read reference will be of interest to anyone curious about the inspiring men and women who have shaped the field of computer science.


Computer Entrepreneurs Early Computer Pioneers History of Artificial Intelligence History of Commercial Computing History of Programming Languages History of Software Engineering History of Theoretical Computing Origins of Computing

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.SQC ConsultingMallowIreland

About the authors

Dr. Gerard O'Regan is a CMMI software process improvement consultant with research interests including software quality and software process improvement; mathematical approaches to software quality; and the history of computing. He is the author of the Springer titles "Mathematics in Computing", "A Brief History of Computing", "Introduction to Software Process Improvement", "Mathematical Approaches to Software Quality" and "A Practical Approach to Software Quality".

Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

“Giants of Computing is most useful as a reference work, but it could also serve as a supplemental course resource or possibly a core text in a class on the history of computing. … the author provides selected examples of pivotal contributions, such as mathematical formula or code samples. Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries.” (S. A. Patton, Choice, Vol. 51 (7), March, 2014)

“The author has given us a mini-biography of 59 ‘giants’ of computing, with a brief account of their major achievements. … the book is absolutely delightful and will provide the reader with many interesting and enjoyable evenings. There are even two quizzes for readers who wish to test their knowledge of people and events in computing.” (James Van Speybroeck, Computing Reviews, October, 2013)