John von Neumann facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
John von Neumann



John von Neumann in the 1940s


Born  
Died  February 8, 1957 
(aged 53)
Nationality  Hungarian, American 
Scientific career  
Fields  Mathematics 
John von Neumann (December 28. 1903 – February 8. 1957) was a HungarianAmerican mathematician and physicist who contributed to many fields including:
 set theory
 functional analysis
 quantum mechanics
 ergodic theory
 continuous geometry
 economics
 game theory
 computer science
 numerical analysis
 systems theory
 statistics
He is generally regarded as a prodigy, polymath and one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century.
He was a member of a group called the 'Martians' who were a group of prominent Hungarian scientists (mostly, but not exclusively, physicists and mathematicians) who emigrated to the United States in the early half of the 20th century. Other people in this group were Edward Teller, Paul Erdős, Leó Szilárd and Eugene Wigner.
Noteworthy work
 His textbook on quantum mechanics is one of the first on this topic.
 His game theory is considered one of the most important tools in competitive strategic management and is also of high importance in biosciences.
 He is the designer of the VonNeumann architecture, which is basic to nearly all computers today.
 He was one of the first proponents of artificial intelligence. He proposed the idea of self replicating machines. This is why a machine that can replicate itself is now commonly referred to as a 'Von Neumann machine'.
 With Stanislav Ulam, he did some of the most important calculations in the Manhattan project.
 He worked at the Institute of Advanced Studies the same time as Albert Einstein, Kurt Gödel and Robert Oppenheimer
 His principles are included in every modern computer, tablet or phone.
Images for kids

Excerpt from the university calendars for 1928 and 1928/29 of the FriedrichWilhelmsUniversität Berlin announcing Neumann's lectures on the theory of functions II, axiomatic set theory and mathematical logic, the mathematical colloquium, review of recent work in quantum mechanics, special functions of mathematical physics and Hilbert's proof theory. He also lectured on the theory of relativity, set theory, integral equations and analysis of infinitely many variables.

Flow chart from von Neumann's "Planning and coding of problems for an electronic computing instrument," published in 1947.

The first implementation of von Neumann's selfreproducing universal constructor. Three generations of machine are shown: the second has nearly finished constructing the third. The lines running to the right are the tapes of genetic instructions, which are copied along with the body of the machines.

A simple configuration in von Neumann's cellular automaton. A binary signal is passed repeatedly around the blue wire loop, using excited and quiescent ordinary transmission states. A confluent cell duplicates the signal onto a length of red wire consisting of special transmission states. The signal passes down this wire and constructs a new cell at the end. This particular signal (1011) codes for an eastdirected special transmission state, thus extending the red wire by one cell each time. During construction, the new cell passes through several sensitised states, directed by the binary sequence.

Von Neumann's wartime Los Alamos ID badge photo
See also
 In Spanish: John von Neumann