December 28th

[edit] John von Neumann

On this day in 1903, John von Neumann was born in Hungary. Von Neumann was an incredible intellect who made contributions to game theory, quantum mechanics, economics, explosives, and many other areas.

In computer science, Von Neumann is best known for creating the computer architecture that bears his name. Today, every popular computer system is a type of Von Neumann machine: A processing unit with a memory storage for data AND programs -- instead of dedicated circuits for the programs. Indeed, almost every programming language (though not all) in use today is isomorphicwith a Von Neumann machine.

Incidentally, Von Neumann is also credited with the invention of the "merge sort" algorithm, which sorts a list by recursively sorting each half of the list:

void mergesort(int lo, int hi)
    if (lo<hi)
        int m=(lo+hi)/2;
        mergesort(lo, m);
        mergesort(m+1, hi);
        merge(lo, m, hi);

Von Neumann quote: "It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements, as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years." (Said in 1949)

[edit] Linus Torvalds

Happy Birthday today to Finnish software developer Linus Torvalds (b. 1969), the original creator of the Linux operating system. Torvalds started work in 1991 and continues to be the Linux gatekeeper for the kernel, although thousands of developers have contributed to the project.

Linus Quote: "With enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow."

[edit] © 2006, Jorge Monasterio

Code snippet from: [1]

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