John von Neumann

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

John von NeumannName: John von Neumann

Born: December 28, 1903, Budapest, Austria-Hungary

Death: February 8, 1957 (Age: 53)

Computer related contributions

  • Helped create von Neumann architecture, a single-memory stored program architecture still in use today.
  • Although not described as a computer virus, John von Neumann is the first to describe how a computer program could reproduce itself.
  • Helped develop the Monte Carlo method, an algorithm to solve complicated problems to be approximated using random numbers.
  • Developed a process of generating pseudorandom numbers.
  • Helped develop flowcharts.
  • Created as creating the merge sort algorithm.
  • Pioneer of the application of operator theory to quantum mechanics.
  • Key member of the Manhattan Project and resolved the nuclear physics involved in thermonuclear reactions and the hydrogen bomb.
  • Created the field of cellular automata.


  • Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata (1966)
  • Collected Works of John von Neumann (1963)
  • First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC (1945)
  • Theory of Games and Economic Behavior (1944)
  • Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (1932)
  • An axiomatization of set theory (1925)
  • On the introduction of transfinite numbers (1923)
  • Authored 150 published papers in his life; 60 in pure mathematics, 20 in physics, and 60 in applied mathematics.

Honors and awards

  • Often regarded as one of the greatest mathematicians in modern history.
  • Presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Dwight Eisenhower on February 15, 1956.
  • Awarded the Enrico Fermi Award in 1956.
  • On of four scientists commemorated on a US postage stamp.
  • The crater Von Neumann on the Moon is named after him.
  • The John von Neumann Computing Center in Princeton, New Jersey was named in his honor.
  • The professional society of Hungarian computer scientists, John von Neumann Computer Society, is named after John von Neumann.
  • IEEE John von Neumann Medal is awarded annually by the IEEE
  • John von Neumann Award of the Rajk László College for Advanced Studies was named in his honor.

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