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Jan Lukasiewicz

Jan Łukasiewicz (21 December, 1878 - 13 February, 1956) was a mathematician born in Lvov. His major mathematical work centred on mathematical logic. He thought innovatively about traditional propositional logic, the principle of non-contradiction and the Law of excluded middle. Łukasiewicz worked on multi-valued logics, including his own three-valued propositional calculus, the first non-classical logical calculus. He is responsible for one of the most elegant axiomatizations of classical propositional logic; it has just three axioms and is one of the most used axiomatizations today. He also pursued philosophy, approaching the human aspects of scientific theory-making with ideas similar to those of Karl Popper.

Łukasiewicz's Polish Notation of 1920 was at the root of the idea of the recursive stack a last-in, first-out computer memory store invented by Charles Hamblin of the New South Wales University of Technology (NSWUT), and first implemented in 1957. This design led to the English Electric multi-programmed KDF9 computer system of 1963, which had two such hardware register stacks. A similar concept underlies the Reverse Polish Notation (or postfix notation) of Hewlett Packard calculators.

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