Top 10 Florida Computing Legends Who Changed The World of Technology For Good

Written by wyncode on 21st May 2014, 12:36 PM

IBM boca raton

It is a well guarded secret that the history of contemporary computing would not exist without significant contributions by computer operators born, educated, inspired, or employed by companies based in the state of Florida.

Sure, you’ve heard of Silicon Valley, but what do you really know about the Tech Subtropics?

Here are the top 10 Florida computing legends who changed the face of modern technology.


T Capers Jones

T Capers Jones – Photo via University of Florida Website

10. T. Capers Jones
Born in St. Petersburg and alumni of the University of Florida, Jones devoted his life to quality software. A renowned pioneer in software methodologies, Jones has held numerous positions and engages the big ideas of programming.


 Chris Malachowsky

Chris Malachowsky – Photo via Santa Clara University website

9. Chris Malachowsky
University of Florida’s alumni Chris Malachowsky is a co-founder of the influential computer graphics entity Nvidia. Malachowsky also worked for iconic computer firms Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.


8. Robin Murphy
Dr. Robin Murphy began her extraordinary career at the University of South Florida where, as a professor, she spearheaded research in programming robots for search and rescue. Murphy teaches at Texas A&M.



Mark Adler – Photo by NASA via University of Florida (public domain)

7. Mark Adler
Not only is Adler a wizard of data compression using .zip file systems, he also contributed to the development of the relatively new and reliable image format PNG and worked for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover. Adler was born in Miami and earned Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Florida.


anonymous operation orlando

6. Florida Hacktivists
It is safe to say computer programmers with a social justice focus populate Florida. Recently, Anonymous targeted Orlando’s tourist websites in retaliation for the arrest of some of its homeless members in town.


Mark Dean

Mark Dean, amazing American inventor, educated in Florida. Early publicity photo

5. Mark Dean
Dean, an alumni of Florida Atlantic University, is a computer engineering legend. His brilliance helped deliver pc monitors to the world. Dean is also credited with co-designing computer architecture that allows for external plug-in devices. According to Wikipedia, he also holds 3 of IBM’s 9 original pc patents.


David Bradley (engineer)

David Bradley, computer engineering rockstar – Photo via University of Dayton

4. David Bradley
In 1975 David Bradley moved to Boca Raton, Florida to work as an engineer for IBM. Bradley gave us the keystroke function we all rely on to revive our computers: control+alt+delete. He also helped invent the original IBM PC. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at Florida Atlantic University.


Brittany Wenger

Florida Bio Tech Revolutionary – Photo via BrittanyMWenger on twitter

3. Brittney Wenger
Another social justice use for computer programming has been developed by 18 year old Floridian Brittney Wenger. Wenger developed an international data cloud service that is over 99% accurate in diagnosing cancer via tissue sample. Wenger has moved on to found Cloud4Cancer which broadens the scope of her data cloud medical support ideas. She is currently on scholarship at Duke University.



Philip Don Estridge

Philip Don Estridge official IBM portrait from the 1980s – photo via IBM Archives

2. Philip Don Estridge
Jacksonville, Florida native and University of Florida alumni Philip Don Estridge holds the distinction of being canonized as father of the IBM PC. His contributions made personal computers accessible for consumers.


 John Vincent Atanasoff

The Great John Vincent Atanasoff

1. John Vincent Atanasoff
Raised in Brewster, Florida by Bulgarian immigrants, this great American physicist and inventor is an alumni of the University of Florida, where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering.  Atanasoff is the world renowned creator of the first electronic computer. Atanasoff made his break-through in the 1930s when he invented the world’s first automatic electronic digital computer, called the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, which he developed with John Berry in the basement of the physics department at Iowa State University.