Along with Steve Jobs and Dennis Ritchie, 2011 marked the passing of many computer visionaries and technology pioneers.
The computing industry came of age in the 1950s, and many of the individuals who laid the groundwork for modern computing, smart electronics and the Internet are now in their 80s. Many of the leaders who passed away in 2011 were founders and chief executives who transformed their companies to take advantage of emerging technology. Several worked on the theoretical foundations in the fields of optics, mathematics and cryptography. Many knew each other as fellow members of the hobbyists group the Homebrew Computer Club.
In memory of these innovators, eWEEK honors some of the individuals who made all the things modern society takes for granted possible, such as digital computers, cellular phones and interconnected networks. While some of the pioneers are better known than others, every one of the names on this list made their mark and has inspired thousands of people with their contributions.