Irving John (Jack) Good
Award Recipient


Irving John (Jack) Good was born 9 December 1916 in London, England. He was a Cryptologist, statistician, and early worker on Colossus at Bletchley Park and the University of Manchester Mark I. Major contributor, if not promulgator, of Bayesian Statistics.

Educ: Major Scholar of Jesus College, Cambridge, 1934; State Scholar, 1934; B.A., Cambridge, 1938, Ph.D., Cambridge (Mathematics), 1941, Supervisor: G. H. Hardy, F.R.S.; M.A., Cambridge, 1943; Sc.D., Cambridge, 1963; D.Sc., Oxford, 1964; Prof. Exp: Foreign Office, 1941-45; Worked at Bletchley Park, Government Code and Cypher School, on Ultra (both the Enigma and a Teleprinter encrypting machine) as the main statistician under A. M. Turing, F.R.S., C.H.O.D., Alexander (British Chess Champion), and M. H. A. Newman, F.R.S., in turn; Lecturer in Mathematics and Electronic Computing, Manchester University, 1945-48; Government Communications Headquarters, U.K., 1948-59; Visiting Research Associate Professor, Princeton, 1955 (Summer); Consultant to IBM for a few weeks, 1958/59 (Information retrieval and evaluation of the Perceptron.); Admiralty Research Laboratory, 1959-62; Consultant, Communications Research Division of the Institute for Defense Analysis, 1962-64; Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Oxford, and Atlas Computer Laboratory, Science Research Council, Great Britain, 1964-67; Professor (Research) of Statistics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University since July, 1967; University Distinguished Professor since 19 November 1969; Adjunct Professor of the Center for the Study of Science in Society from 1983 October 19; Adjunct Professor of Philosophy from 1984 April 6; Honors and Awards: Cambridgeshire Chess Champion, 1939; Smith’s Prize, Cambridge (one or two Smith’s Prizes are awarded each year for mathematical essays by graduate students), 1940; Supervisor: A. S. Besicovitch, F.R.S.; “Fellow” of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, 1958; One of the original six people designated the title “University Professor”, 1969; Title changed to “University Distinguished Professor”, without change of meaning, in 1975; Horsley Prize (Virginia Academy of Science) (shared with R. A. Gaskins), 1972, for the best scientific paper presented that year at the annual meetings; Fellow of the American Statistical Association, 1973; Member of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1974; Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1985 May 8; Honorary Member of the International Statistical Institute, 16 November 1990.

Good rediscovered irrational numbers and the infinity of solutions of 2×2 = y2+1 at the age of 9. He rediscovered mathematical induction and, in a sense, integration, at the age of 13. In 1943, Good was one of seven people who helped design Mark II of a large-scale (classified) binary electronic digital computer called Colossus (which was not entirely general purpose).

Learn more about Good.


1998 Computer Pioneer Award Recipient
“For significant contributions to the field of computing as a Cryptologist and statistician during World War II at Bletchley Park, as an early worker and developer of the Colossus at Bletchley Park and on the University of Manchester Mark I, the world’s first stored program computer.”
Read more about the Computer Pioneer Award