10 Iconic Figures Behind the Cloud Computing Revolution

No matter how you feel about the cloud, one thing’s certain: it’s revolutionizing the world of technology. From the way we work to the way we play, cloud computing has infiltrated every corner of our lives, and it shows no signs of slowing down. The cloud is transforming almost every industry you can think of, bringing in new companies and new ideas and completely changing the tech landscape as we know it. To celebrate this exciting technological advancement, we’ve put together a list of 10 iconic figures behind the cloud computing revolution.

1. John McCarthy

A theoretical physicist and computer scientist, John McCarthy is also credited with coining artificial intelligence and helping to develop Alto, a computer capable of graphical interaction. In 1985, he helped to create an early version of the Internet, which eventually evolved into what we know today as cloud computing. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Carnegie Mellon University in 1986 for his work with AI and research in how computers can understand language.

2. Douglas Engelbart

In 1963, Engelbart first conceived of and began developing NLS (ON Line System), what he later described as the mother of all demos. The prototype is considered by many to be one of the most important inventions in computing history. From it, a series of innovations such as hypertext, local and networked collaboration tools, and graphical user interfaces were developed. The entire development took place at his Augmentation Research Center at SRI International’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

3. Bill Gates

Steve Jobs once called Bill Gates the greatest businessman of our age. And while there are many more important things in life than making money, he has done a pretty good job with that, too: With an estimated net worth of $75 billion (as of 2013), he is one of the world’s wealthiest people. While working at Microsoft in 1980, he decided to leave his promising position at IBM to make software for home computers with Paul Allen; Microsoft was officially formed in 1975.

4. Sergey Brin

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has his hands all over Google’s multiple cloud computing platforms. In addition to heading up development for several of Google’s infrastructure products, he also directs Google X, Google’s semi-secret research and development lab that focuses on cutting-edge projects like self-driving cars and balloon Wi-Fi networks.

5. Larry Page

Larry Page co-founded Google with Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California. Their search engine changed internet searches forever by becoming one of the world’s most popular sites, and now, Google is leading cloud computing developments with their widespread adoption of cloud computing technology. This includes various features such as automatic backup and synchronization of documents via Google Drive, a kind of cloud storage for files, which was originally unveiled in 2012.

6. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs helped create Apple, Pixar, and most famously (and revolutionarily), Apple’s App Store. The app store paved a new pathway for future generations of programmers to develop apps to be sold in stores like iTunes. By its fifth anniversary, it had surpassed 50 billion downloads. Steve Jobs was an innovator that opened up our eyes to what computers could truly do for us as human beings.

7. Alan Kay

a professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of Xerox PARC during its late 1970s heyday, Alan Kay is widely credited with coining the desktop as we know it today. In 1976, he and his team invented Smalltalk, an object-oriented programming language that many credit with being one of the foundational tools that enabled cloud computing to flourish over three decades later.

8. Michael Dell

Dell Computer Company is an American multinational computer technology company based in Round Rock, Texas. They are most known for their line of personal computers and laptops. The Dell brand also includes: docking stations, monitors, projectors, servers, printers and all-in-one PCs. Founded in 1984 by Michael Dell with his $1,000 investment saved from working as a camp counselor. Since that time they have become one of the top sellers of PC’s to consumers worldwide.

9. Marc Andreessen

Marc Andreessen is a legend in tech. At just 21 years old, he co-founded Netscape and helped kick off what would later be called The Internet Boom of 1995-2000. But Marc has remained a mover and shaker since his days at Netscape: He was an early investor in Facebook, Twitter, Groupon, Zynga you get the idea.

10. Mark Zuckerberg

Founder and CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg developed an interest in cloud computing after transferring his social networking site to it. In 2014, he invested $40 million into developing a high performance cloud system for Harvard University. From there, he started taking initiatives for bigger and better projects that eventually led to him being considered one of the biggest icons in cloud computing.

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