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Bill Gosper
Bill Gosper
LOCATION: Near Stanford

"I fling rubber novelties at innocent children." ~ Bill Gosper

Bill Gosper is an American mathematician and programmer. Along with Richard Greenblatt, he may be considered to have founded the hacker community, and he holds a place of pride in the Lisp community. He became intensely interested in the Game of Life shortly after John Horton Conway had proposed it. Conway conjectured the existence of infinitely growing patterns, and offered a reward for an example. Gosper was the first to find such a pattern, the glider gun, and won the prize. Gosper was also the originator of the hashlife algorithm that can speed up the computation of Life patterns by many orders of magnitude. Gosper has created numerous packing problem puzzles, such as "Twubblesome Twelve". Gosper was the first person to realize the possibilities of symbolic computation on a computer as a mathematics research tool, whereas computer methods were previously limited to purely numerical methods. In particular, this research resulted in his work on continued fraction representations of real numbers, and he developed Gosper's algorithm for finding closed form hypergeometric identities. Gosper held the world record for computing the most digits of pi with 17 million digits. He also was first to do errorless, reversible arithmetic with infinite continued fractions.