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James Gosling

James GoslingIn the early 1990s, James Gosling understood the need for a universal computer programming language , a language that would allow for communication between all sorts of machines. He mustered his talents and went to work, emerging with Oak, the precursor to Java.

Years later, Java, the first general purpose programming language, was born. Java’s success was quick and lasting, and since it has been introduced to the market, Gosling has gained enormous recognition.

One of three children, James Gosling was born in 1955, just outside of Calgary. Electronically proficient at an unusually young age, it should not be surprising that he has advanced the world of computing so profoundly. When he was 12, his parents found him constructing an electric tic-tac-toe game from spare parts taken from a telephone and television. Deciding to encourage this burgeoning interest, family friends took Gosling to the computer lab at the University of Calgary—he was 14.

A major turning point in his life, Gosling found himself participating less in his high school classes and spending more time in the computer lab at the university. After graduating from high school, Gosling began studying at the University of Calgary. While earning his Bachelor of Science degree, he developed a text editor called Emacs, which became the most widely used UNIX text editor in the world. He continued his education at the University of Alberta, achieving a Master’s degree before he moved to Pittsburgh to obtain his doctoral degree at Carnegie Mellon University.

His first job out of university was writing software at IBM. Though he remained with the company for a number of years, they never produced any of his work. So, in 1984, when Sun Microsystems Inc. offered Gosling a position, he accepted their offer. Today, almost 20 years later, he is a vice-president in the company.

Gosling admits he is the sort of person who gets terribly excited with new technology, but he also knows that success is driven by the market and its customers. He understands people will buy a product if it solves a problem and improves their life in some way. That said, Gosling takes pride in being able to deliver technology, such as Java, as it does its job without the user being aware of it.

Gosling currently lives in Redwood City, California with his wife Judy and their two daughters, Kate and Kelsey. Although he has lived in the United States for over 20 years, Gosling continues to feel Canadian and returns often to visit the rest of his family.

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