Autographs of Computing Giants

Claude Shannon

The inventor of information theory
and considered "The greatest scientist of the 20th century,"
wrote A Mathematical Theory of Communication.

June, 1973, at the IEEE Symposium on Information Theory
(my first technical conference) in Ashkelon, Israel

I attended his lecture,
shook his hand and asked him to sign my badge.

Morris Collen, MD

One of Kaiser's founders, and
inventor of the multiphasic health exam
and the first electronic medical record (EMR)

May, 2006, Oakland, California
Also, Joe Terdiman, MD (another EMR luminary)
and Dana Ludwig, MD (manager of immense EMR databases)
Click here for the complete image.

Larry Wall

inventor of the Perl programming language

January, 2002, San Francisco, California

Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Inventor of the World Wide Web

May, 1996, at WWW5 in Paris, France
(Alexi and Cara to whom he writes are my children.)

Peter Thoeny

Inventor of Twiki, the second-most widely used wiki software
(the first is Mediawiki, used by Wikipedia)
and the most widely used within corporate intranets,
now considered an essential business tool

March 28, 2007, at a meeting of the San Francisco Perl Mongers

Max Mathews (1926-2011), Don Knuth

Max Mathews is recognized as the father of computer music,
having written the seminal works while at
Bell Labs in the 1950s and 60s.
He posited that computers could generate any sound.

Don Knuth is the celebrated author of the classic work,
The Art of Computer Programming, in which he
developed a taxonomy and vast catalog of software algorithms,
the Mix language, articulated much of the philosophy of programming,
and received the Pulitzer prize.
Celebrity does not rest comfortably on his shoulders, though,
and he would write only "+ don" beneath Max Mathews' autograph.

These autographs were signed at the 80th birthday celebration concert and reception for Max Mathews at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, on March 29th, 2007, in my copy of Mathews' 1969 textbook, The Technology of Computer Music (MIT Press).

Also in attendance at this event was Guy, the son of Max, with whom by coincidence I had become friends years earlier when working at Hewlett Packard. Too familiar with his famous father's appellation, he wryly refers to himself as "the brother of computer music."

John Chowning

Inventor of the frequency modulation algorithm that made low-cost digital music synthesis possible

I was a disciple at his Computer Music Workshop at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at Stanford. When, many years later (on March 29th, 2007) we chatted at a reception event, neither of us could remember whether that workshop had been in 1978 or 1979 (actually, it was the summer of 1977). But both recalled it as an extraordinary experience. Chowning licensed his technology to Yamaha to build the DX7, the bestselling music synthesizer of all time (I still have one) and spawned an industry.

Hal Goldstein

Publisher of Palmtop Paper, iPhone Life, and other periodicals devoted to mobile computing,
technologies, and sub-cultures that have figured prominently in my life.
I was for many years a devoted user of HP's brilliant 200LX palmtop computer
(it ran DOS!) and met the Goldsteins at a mobile devices
(long before smartphones) user/developer conference.

Larry Groupé

Composer/conductor of the music for Straw Dogs, About Schmidt,
The Contender,
and numerous other major films,
Larry was a classmate in the Chowning class
(Stanford, Computer Music, 1977, see above) and a good friend.
And a brilliant composer, even then!
His light bulb comment refers to one of his compositions I
especially enjoyed, an ode to a Harmony House 60-watt lightbulb.

Virginia Saba

Visionary nurse leader, Dr. Saba pioneered the Clinical Care Classification System,
the most well-designed medical data encoding scheme for nursing.
Updated Wednesday, 22-Apr-2020 21:30:23 MDT

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