Foregoers

John von Neumann

(b. Dec 28, 1903, Budapest – d. Feb 8, 1957, Washington, DC)

Growing up as a child genius of mathematics, he finished his secondary education in Budapest. He simultaneously studied chemical engineering in Germany and mathematics at the Technical University of Budapest, and received a diploma and a doctorate in the two fields. Von Neumann along with Einstein became one of the original six mathematics professors in 1933 at the newly founded Institute for Advanced Study (I.A.S.) in Princeton, a position he kept for the remainder of his life. His influence on our life is many fold. He paved the road for the modern era of computing by inventing the stored program computer—which until today is referred to as the von Neumann architecture and is the basic architecture of almost all computers today. During the World War II, he was put in charge of the mathematical calculations of the Manhattan Project. He was one of the founders of game theory; built a solid framework for quantum mechanics; and played a key role in the development of the U.S. ballistic missile program.

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