Here are the two hundred eighty-four names that have been suggested to me as people I might want to interview. Thanks to everyone who submitted names. Thanks also to the people who took the time to try their hand at sorting the list; their efforts provide the measure of popularity used to sort the list. If your name is on this list please don’t be insulted if you feel the brief description I’ve given here misrepresents your life’s work or if your name is distressingly low down on the popularity ranking. While I am interested in what the wisdom of the crowd has to say about who’d be interesting interview subjects, in the end I’ll follow my own council when selecting who to approach for interviews. There are several folks well down on the popularity ranking who I’d love to have a chance to interview.

Now that I’m getting ready to start contacting potential interviewees, I’m really getting going on my research. If you click on any of the names in this list you can see what information I’ve got so far and can help me out by adding to it if you want. As I mentioned on the front page, at this point the best way to make a case for someone you really think I should interview is to add information about them so I have the best chance to realize why they’d be interesting to talk to. If you want to add a more general comment feel free, as always, to send me email or to leave a comment on the comments page.

Sort by: Popularity | Amount of information | Last name

# Name Description
1 Peter Norvig Director of Research at Google and author of the standard text on AI.
2 Alan Kay Inventor of Smalltalk. Coined the term "object-oriented programming".
3 Guy Steele Co-inventor of Scheme and part of the Common Lisp Gang of Five. Currently working on Fortress.
4 Donald Knuth Author of The Art of Computer Programming and TeX
5 Gerald Jay Sussman Co-creator of Scheme and co-author of The Structure And Interpretation of Computer Programs.
6 John McCarthy Invented Lisp
7 John Carmack Founder of id Software; lead programmer of Doom, Quake, and others.
8 Dennis Ritchie Invented C and contributed to development of UNIX
9 Joe Armstrong Inventor of Erlang
10 Ken Thompson Inventor of UNIX
11 Brian Kernighan The K in AWK and K&R. Author of the original "hello, world" program.
12 Guido van Rossum Invented Python
13 Linus Torvalds Wrote and maintains Linux kernel. Wrote GIT version control system.
14 Steve Wozniak Wrote most of the original Apple II software.
15 Bill Joy Wrote BSD TCP/IP stack, vi
16 Simon Peyton Jones Co-inventor of Haskell and lead designer of Glasgow Haskell Compiler.
17 Alan Cox One of Linus Torvalds's main lieutenants. Wrote Linux TCP/IP code.
18 Larry Wall Invented Perl
19 Jamie Zawinski Author of XEmacs and early Netscape/Mozilla hacker.
20 Ward Cunningham Wrote the first Wiki and FIT.
21 Edi Weitz Lisp library hacker extraordinaire. Co-organizer of the European Common Lisp Meetings 2005 and 2006
22 Chuck Moore Invented Forth
23 Robert Morris Wrote the Internet Worm and co-founded Viaweb with Paul Graham
24 Theo de Raadt Founder of OpenBSD project. Original author of OpenSSH.
25 Tim Sweeney Founder of Epic Games. Wrote the Unreal Engine.
26 Brendan Eich Invented Javascript
27 Paul Graham Lisp hacker and author.
28 Fabrice Bellard Wrote QEMU, TinyCC, FFMPEG; Winner of 2001 IOCCC
29 Yukihiro Matsumoto Invented Ruby
30 Dan Bernstein Wrote djbns and qmail
31 Andrew Tridgell Wrote Samba file server and co-invented rsync algorithm
32 Andrew Tanenbaum Created Minix, advocate for micro-kernels.
33 Andy Gavin Co-founder of Naughty Dog software. Wrote GOAL which was used to develop Jak and Daxter.
34 Brad Fitzpatrick Wrote LiveJournal, OpenID, memcached, Perlbal
35 Bram Cohen Wrote BitTorrent
36 Michael Abrash Optimization expert
37 Hal Abelson Abelson of Abelson and Sussman. MIT professor.
38 Miguel de Icaza Wrote GNOME and Mono
39 Richard Stallman Wrote Emacs, gcc, and started the Free Software movement.
40 Rob Pike Author of first bitmap windowing system for Unix. Worked on Plan 9. Now works at Google.
41 Douglas Engelbart Invented computer mouse
42 Audrey Tang Leader of Pugs project to implement Perl 6 in Haskell
43 Bruce Schneier Security expert. Creator of Twofish block cipher.
44 Marvin Minsky Artifical Intelligence researcher
45 Stephen Wolfram Invented Mathematica
46 Erik Naggum Lisp hacker
47 Philip Greenspun Author of Greenspun's Tenth Law and sometimes instructor at MIT
48 Frances Allen Pioneer in optimizing compilers. First woman to win Turing Award (2006) and first woman IBM fellow.
49 Paul Buchheit Creator of GMail
50 James Gosling Invented Java, NeWS windowing system.
51 Bjarne Stroustrup Invented C++
52 Anders Hejlsberg Lead architect of C#, Architect of Delphi at Borland. Wrote what became Turbo Pascal
53 Justin Frankel Wrote Winamp, NSIS, and Gnutella
54 David Heinemeier Hansson Invented Rails
55 Bill Gosper One of the original MIT hackers. Worked on Lisp machines, Maclisp, and Macsyma
56 L. Peter Deutsch Author of Ghostscript, Implemented Smalltalk-80 at Xerox PARC and Lisp 1.5 on PDP-1
57 Whitfield Diffie Discovered principle of public key cryptography
58 Wil Shipley Wrote Delicious Monster. Founded Omni Group
59 Andy Hertzfeld Key Macintosh developer
60 Raymond Chen Worked on OS/2, Windows 95, and Direct X
61 Richard Gabriel Lisper and Poet. Currently a Distinguished Engineer at IBM. Chair of OOPSLA 2007.
62 Charles Simonyi Invented Hungarian notation. Original author of Microsoft Word. Head of the IP project at Microsoft, now running
63 Sergey Brin Founded Google
64 Gregor Kiczales Wrote Common Lisp MOP. Invented Aspect Oriented programming.
65 Martin Fowler Chief Scientist at Thoughtworks. Author of Refactoring and many other books.
66 Dan Ingalls Smalltalk implementor and designer.
67 Steve Yegge Blogger and Googler
68 Matt Dillon FreeBSD hacker, founded DragonFly BSD project
69 Why the lucky stiff Core Ruby developer and free spirit
70 Leslie Lamport Distributed systems researcher and developer of LaTeX
71 Xavier Leroy Primary developer of OCaml. Wrote LinuxThreads threading package used in pre 2.6 Linux kernels
72 Alexander Stepanov Author of the Standard Template Library for C++
73 Larry Page Founded Google
74 Marc Andreessen Co-wrote Mosaic. Founded Netscape.
75 Douglas Crockford JSON founder, JavaScript Architect at Yahoo!
76 Douglas McIlroy Unix toolsmith; invented Unix pipelines
77 Zed Shaw Wrote Mongrel (Rails HTTP server)
78 Bill Atkinson Early Mac developer. Designed and implemented Hypercard
79 David Cutler Architect of VMS and Windows NT
80 Danny Hillis Founder of Thinking Machines
81 Roy Fielding One of the principle authors of HTTP specification. Invented REST. Co-founder of Apache project
82 Olin Shivers Comp Sci professor interested in Scheme and ML. Wrote scsh
83 Allison Randal Architect of Parrot virtual machine
84 Aaron Swartz Invented
85 Vinton Cerf Father of TCP/IP
86 Trevor Blackwell Principal at Viaweb. Now founder and CEO of Anybots
87 Van Jacobson Redesigned TCP/IP flow control algorithms, saving the net from total collapse. Eponymous inventor of Van Jacobson TCP/IP header compression.
88 Mark Pilgrim Wrote Universal Feed Parser. Author of Dive into Python and Dive into Accessibility.
89 Bruce Momjian Core PostgreSQL developer
90 Henry Baker One of the founder of Symbolics; comp sci. researcher
91 Bill Gates Wrote BASIC for Altair
92 Brad Cox Invented Objective C
93 Jonathan Rees Designed T dialect of Scheme and co-wrote Scheme 48
94 Bertrand Meyer Invented Eiffel
95 Ivan Sutherland Invented Sketchpad, precursor to modern GUIs
96 Niklaus Wirth Invented Pascal, Modula, Oberon
97 Alex Martelli Co-author of Python Cookbook and Author of Python in a Nutshell
98 Philip Wadler Professor of Theoretical Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh. Contributed to design of Java, Haskell, and XQuery.
99 Mark Shuttleworth Founded Thawte and Ubuntu project. Previously a Debian developer
100 Tom Lane Core PostgreSQL developer responsible for optimizer.
101 Richard Hipp Wrote sqlite embedded SQL database
102 Ingo Molnár Linux hacker, author of many Linux perfomance improvements.
103 Bruce Eckel Founding member of ANSI/ISO C++ committee. Author of Thinking in Java and Thinking in C++.
104 Kent Pitman Technical Editor of Common Lisp ANSI standard
105 Richard Greenblatt Main implementor of Maclisp on PDP-6. Co-founded Lisp Machines, Inc.
106 Jeff Rubin According to Richard Gabriel a "code-writing savant".
107 Adrian Holovaty Lead developer of Django
108 Jon Bentley Author of Programming Pearls books.
109 Kent Beck Creator of XP
110 Bram Moolenaar Wrote VIM (Vi IMproved)
111 Tom Duff Invented Duff's device and noted graphics programmer
112 Dave Fox Lisp hacker, directior of Lispworks Ltd.
113 Marco Baringer Common Lisp hacker, author of Uncommon Web
114 Luke Gorrie Lisp and Erlang hacker. Project lead for SLIME.
115 Alain Colmerauer Invented Prolog
116 John Foderaro Original author of Franz's Allegro Common Lisp
117 Don Stewart Haskell hacker
118 Elizabeth Rather Colleague of Chuck Moore and second ever Forth programmer
119 Ka-Ping Yee Python hacker extraordinaire.
120 Jeff Dean Google Fellow in Systems Infrastructure Group. Co-inventor of MapReduce.
121 Tim Peters Python hacker and author of Spambayes
122 Rasmus Lerdorf Invented PHP
123 Alvy Ray Smith Graphics pioneer. Worked at LucasFilm, helped found Pixar.
124 Marshall Kirk McKusick Designed Berkeley Fast File System.
125 Steve Russell One of John McCarthy's grad students. Brought Lisp to life by hand-coding EVAL in assembler. Wrote Spacewar.
126 Damian Conway Perl hacker and three time winner of the Larry Wall award. Wrote Lingua::Romana::Perligata and others.
127 Ola Bini Core JRuby developer
128 Poul-Henning Kamp FreeBSD kernel hacker
129 Ellen Spertus Head of Interdisciplinary Computer Science department at Mills College
130 Wietse Venema Wrote Postfix. Co-wrote Satan and TCT
131 Charles Nutter Principle JRuby developer
132 Jim Hugunin Original author of Iron Python, now at Microsoft working on dynamic languages on the CLR. Co-designer of AspectJ language, lead development through 1.1 release.
133 Roberto Ierusalimschy Invented Lua
134 Edward Feigenbaum Father of Expert Systems
135 Urs Hölzle Researcher behind Sun's HotSpot JVM technology.
136 P.J. Plauger Worked on first commercial C compiler
137 Tom Lord Scheme and C hacker. Wrote GNU Arch
138 Erich Gamma One of the Gang of Four
139 Jarkko Oikarinen Started IRC
140 Mitchell Kapor Founded Lotus
141 Don Hopkins Invented Pie Menus, working on One Laptop Per Child project.
142 Joshua Bloch Author of Java collections framework. Now at Google.
143 Paul Vixie Wrote BIND
144 Michael Feathers XP guru
145 Janus Friis Founder of Joost, Skype, Kazaa
146 John Ousterhout Invented TCL
147 Graham Nelson Invented Inform language used to program interatvive fiction
148 Eric Meijer Architect in SQL server group at Microsoft working on combining functional programming with the CLR and SQL
149 Udi Manber VP of Engineering at Google. Co-author of Glimpse, Agrep, and Harvest search packages.
150 Mark Zuckerberg Founder and CEO of Facebook
151 Scott McKay Lisp and Dylan designer.
152 Keith Packard X Windows hacker, founded X.Org Server project
153 Paul Allen Co-founded Microsoft.
154 Richard Kelsey Co-wrote Scheme 48 and edited R5RS
155 Amy Fowler Core Java Swing developer
156 Butler Lampson Systems pioneer. Worked on Xerox's Alto.
157 Dan Bricklin Wrote Visicalc
158 Nick Bradbury Wrote HomeSite, TopStyle, and FeedDemon
159 Ralph Johnson One of the Gang of Four
160 John Gilmore Contributor to several GNU projects. Co-author of Bootstrap protocol which became DHCP. Founder of EFF, Cypherpunks mailing list, and Cygnus solutions.
161 Carla Schroder Long-time Linux geek.
162 Zack Rusin Qt graphics guru
163 Donald Chamberlin Principle designer of SQL; ACM Intercollegiate Programming Contest judge, 1998-2005
164 Rick Olsen Core Rails developer, wrote Mephisto and Beast
165 Joe Marshall Lisp hacker
166 Gavin King Original author of Hibernate, JBoss Seam
167 Richard Karp Researcher in theory of algorithms
168 Martin Odersky Invented Scala
169 James Duncan Davidson Started Apache Ant and Apache Tomcat projects. Author of Java Servlet API and Java API for XML processing J2EE specifications.
170 Brian Behlendorf Apache organizer
171 Dan Farmer Co-wrote Satan and TCT
172 Ray Ozzie Main architect of Lotus Notes. Now Chief Software Architect at Microsoft.
173 Roger Hui Implementor of of J language
174 Scott Meyers Author of Effective C++, More Effective C++, Effective STL
175 Henry Spencer Wrote Unix regex library later incorporated into Tcl and Perl. Co-wrote C News news server
176 Jim Blinn Graphics Fellow at Microsoft
177 Steve Dekorte Invented Io language.
178 Evan Phoenix Author of Rubinus compiler/virtual machine for Ruby
179 Ray Tomlinson Wrote first networked email system and gave us the @-sign in email addresses.
180 Larry Osterman Longtime Microsoftie
181 Russ Cox Worked on Plan 9. Represented U.S. at 1995 International Olympiad in Informatics
182 Peter Van Roy Contributor to Mozart/Oz programming system. Author of Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer Programming
183 Paul 'Rusty' Russell One of Linus Torvald's top deputies. Wrote ipchains and netfilter/iptables packet filtering code
184 Matt Mackall Wrote Mecurial version control system.
185 Chris Wanstrath Notable Rails programmer
186 Niklas Zennstrom Founder of Joost, Skype, Kazaa
187 David Korn Wrote the Korn shell
188 Avi Bryant Co-founder Dabble DB
189 Barry Boehem Software metrics guru
190 Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen Wrote Gnus and Gmane
191 Jacob Kaplan-Moss Django developer. Wrote Tivo apps in Python and now hacking Python on the PSP
192 John Mashey Early Unix hacker
193 Keith Bostic Worked on BSD at Berkeley and one of the original authors of BerkeleyDB
194 Gavin Schmidt Programmer on GISS climate modeling software.
195 Robert Martin Founder and CEO of Object Mentor. C++ and Agile methods expert.
196 Doug Lea Concurrency expert and systems programmer.
197 Adele Goldberg Smalltalk designer and documenter.
198 Dan Geer Security expert
199 Austin Meyer Author of X-Plane and Space Combat flight simulators
200 Neil Hodgson Wrote Scintilla and SciTE
201 Brian Harvey UC Comp Sci professor. Author of Berkeley Logo
202 Paul Haeberli Computer graphics researcher
203 Rob McCool Wrote NCSA HTTPd; drafted Common Gateway Interface specification
204 Radia Perlman Invented spanning-tree protocol
205 Stefan Meyer-Kahlen Author of Shredder chess program
206 Alessandro Rubini Linux kernel hacker
207 Wouter van Oortmerssen Game programmer and language designer
208 Craig McClanahan Original author of Apache Struts
209 Will Crowther Wrote Adventure and the inner packet processing loop of the original internet IMPs
210 Marcus Ranum Security expert and author of Firewall Toolkit and Network Flight Recorder
211 Eric Allman Wrote sendmail
212 Andrew Hunt Co-founder of Pragmatic Programmers
213 Arthur Whitney Invented A+ and K languages and wrote prototype of J language
214 Dave Thomas Co-founder of Pragmatic Programmers
215 Dan Piponi Graphics programmer and theorist.
216 Peter Weinberger The W in AWK
217 Thomas Enebo Principle JRuby developer
218 Richard Helm One of the Gang of Four
219 Bob Scheifler Led the development of X Windows while the X Consortium was at MIT
220 Charles Hedrick Lisp Unix hacker
221 Guillaume Laforge Groovy project lead
222 Ilya Zakharevich Major contributor to perl5 including a major reworking of the regex engine.
223 John Vlissides One of the Gang of Four
224 Dominic Giampaolo Wrote BeOS file system
225 Salvatore Sanfilippo Software developer and security expert
226 Rod Johnson Original author of Spring Framework
227 Mathias Feist Co-author of Fritz chess program.
228 Sam Leffler BSD hacker. Wrote FreeBSD wi-fi drivers
229 Chris Torek BSDI os hacker
230 Mike Karels System architect of BSD 4.3 and 4.4 releases.
231 Jeff Mogul HP Fellow working on networking performance. Contributed to HTTP 1.1 spec
232 Rob Barnaby Worked some on early Logo, wrote Word Star. Also did Stringcomp, an early string processing language.
233 Eric Bina Co-wrote Mosaic.
234 Simon Willison Django developer. Hacker Liason for Yahoo UK
235 Frans Morsch Co-author of Fritz chess program.
236 John Harper Wrote librep and the sawfish window manager
237 Spencer Janssen Wrote xmonad, a tiling window manager implemened in Haskell
238 John Socha Wrote many DOS software packages for Norton Computing
239 Peter Karp Responsible for the development of BioCyc
240 Mark Maybee Worked on ZFS DMU at Sun.
241 Peter Norton Wrote the first version of the Norton Utilities
242 Graeme Rocher Grails project lead
243 Dan Sugalski Original architect of Parrot VM
244 Erik Benson Cheif Janitorial Officer - Robot Coop
245 Mark Fletcher Founder Bloglines, egroups
246 Graham Spencer Co-founder Excite & Jot-Spot
247 Mark Jason Dominus Perl programmer; author of Higher Order Perl
248 Sape Mullender Member of Technical Staff, Lucent Technologies,Bell Labs Innovations, Computing Sciences Research, Murray Hill, New Jersey.
249 Paul Mackerras Samba developer
250 Val Henson Kernel hacker and file systems specialist.
251 Greg Linden Founder Findory & worked at Amazon
252 Dick Wall Co-host of the Java Posse podcast. Works at Google.
253 Spencer Kimball Co-wrote GIMP. Googler.
254 Jeff Bonwick Chief architect of ZFS
255 Peter Mattis Co-wrote GIMP. Googler.
256 Bernie Cosell One of the main software guys behind the original ARPANET IMP's and a master debugger.
257 Shay Bushinsky Co-author of Junior chess program.
258 Dennis Crawley DodgeBall
259 Rainer Joswig Contributes to CL-HTTP
260 Biz Stone Twitter
261 Max Levchin Co-founder Pay Pal & Slide
262 Joel Reymont Open Poker
263 Jon Kleinberg Cornell Comp. Sci. professor.
264 Joel Spolsky FogCreekSoftware
265 Munjal Shah Co-founder Riya
266 Dierk Koenig. Groovy, Grails contributor
267 Peter-Paul Koch Javascript guru. Maintains quirksmode website.
268 Frank Heart Managed the group that built the ARPANET.
269 Thomas Knoll Original creator of Photoshop.
270 Amir Ban Co-author of Junior chess program.
271 Watts Humphrey CMM guru.
272 Rusty Bobrow BBNer doing work in computational linguistics, speech recognition, and artificial intelligence.
273 Simon Tatham Author of PuTTY
274 Eric Swildens Founder Microline Software, Co-founder Speedera Networks
275 Evan Williams Twitter
276 Dan Weinreb Founder of Symbolics. Now at ITA.
277 Robert Thau Early Apache developer. Started Bianca Troll
278 Chrilly Donninger Author of the Hydra chess program.
279 Matthew Ahrens Works on ZFS in kernel group at Sun
280 Michael C. Schatz Author of a number of gene sequencing programs.
281 Richard Fateman Computer algebraist. Worked on MacSysma and Maxima
282 Alex Russell Created Dojo Javascript library
283 Naval Ravikanth Founder
284 Sam Stephenson Created Prototype Javascript library