World Ranking of Top Computer Scientists in 2020 (6th Edition)

World Ranking of Top Computer Scientists in 2020 (6th Edition)
Imed Bouchrika by Imed Bouchrika
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

On May 20, 2020, Guide2Research released the 6th edition of the annual ranking for top scientists in the area of computer science and electronics. This list of leading scholars is designed to offer the academic community more visibility and exposure to the influential research contributions made by those at the forefront of computer science.

What is more, we hope it will inspire researchers, decision-makers, and entrepreneurs around the world to find out where leading experts are heading. It is a great opportunity for all of us to learn who are the leading experts in different research areas, in different countries, as well as within different universities and research institutions.

For the 2020 6th edition of the ranking, more than 6000 scientist profiles have been examined with several indicators and metrics reviewed in order to consider each scientist’s inclusion in the ranking. The position in the ranking was based on H-index value from Google Scholar. Only scientists with an H-index >= 40 were considered. The second verification step included a manual examination of each scientist’s list of publications on DBLP to ensure they are indeed authors of a significant number of computer science-related publications. The final step involved verification of awards and fellowships of each researcher. 

The key findings for the 6th edition of top computer scientist ranking

  • Scholars from the United States are still dominating the ranking with 616 scientists representing 61.6% of all leading scientists. The other countries with leading positions in the ranking are the United Kingdom (55 scientists or 5.5%), Germany (38 scientists or 3.8%), Canada (37 scientists or 3.7%), and Switzerland (34 scientists or 3.4%).
  • Asia has seen a significant increase in the number of scientists present on the list with 55 scientists listed in 2020 in comparison to 37 in 2018.
  • Countries in which the number of leading scientists has decreased include Germany (44 scientists in 2018 and 38 in 2020) and France (a decrease from 17 to 14)
  • In 2020 MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the research institution hosting the highest number of leading computer scientists with as many as 44 of them working there this year which represents 4.4% of all leading scientists. This was the first time they overtook Stanford University, who led the ranking in previous years.
  • Leading private companies with the highest number of top computer scientists are still Google (17 scientists) and Microsoft (12 scientists).
  • 14 leading scientists are recipients of the Alan Turing Award, the most prestigious distinction in the field of computer science. 302 scientists were elected as ACM Fellows, and 425 were promoted to IEEE Fellows in recognition of their scientific achievements. AAAI Fellowship for contributions in the field of artificial intelligence has been awarded to 93 scientists.
  • The average h-index for the top 1% of scientists is 167 against an average of 85 for all 1000 scientists included in the ranking.

The full ranking for the 2020 list of top computer scientists can be found here:


Professor Imed Bouchrika, a computer scientist responsible for making sure all data in the ranking remained unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date said: The recognition and acknowledgment of contributions made by leading scientists devoting tremendous efforts to disseminate their knowledge is pivotal to the advancement of science and prosperity in our world as a better place. I hope this list of top scientists contributes to increasing the visibility and exposure of leading scholars making impactful and influential contributions in the area of computer science. For us as research fellows, entrepreneurs, decision-makers, or university students, we are always thrilled to be inspired by such highly respected scientists and their contributions.“

Countries with the highest number of leading computer scientists

Scientists from the United States continue to dominate the list with 616 scholars included in 2020 which represents 61.6% of the whole ranking. 8 out of 10 scientists in the top 1% are from the United States (the other two are from Canada). The dominant position of the US hasn’t changed much since 2018 when they had as much as 621 scientists on the list. 

The other leading countries continue to be the United Kingdom with 55 scientists, Germany with 38 scientists, Canada with 37 scientists, and Switzerland with 34 scientists. However, Germany has seen a steady decline in the number of leading scientists since 2018 when they had 44 scientists listed. A smaller, but still visible decline was noted for France, which had 17 scholars on the list in 2018 and only 14 in 2020. For other leading countries, the numbers have stayed consistent across the last 3 years with only minor, insignificant fluctuations.

Asia has seen a significant increase in the number of scientists present on the list with 55 scientists listed in 2020 in comparison to 37 in 2018. A noticeable increase was also present for Israel (from 18 to 21).

Please note that the country associated with a scientist is based on their affiliated research institution according to Google Scholar, not on their actual nationality.

Institutions with the highest number of leading computer scientists

In the 2020 edition of our ranking, MIT overtook Stanford University as the leader for the first time, with 44 scientists affiliated with that university included in the ranking (4.4% of the whole list). No scientists from these two institutions made it to the top 1% though, where the only institution with more than one scholar is Carnegie Mellon University (with 2 scholars).

MIT saw a steady rise in the last three years with 33 scientists on the list in 2018 and 44 in 2020, while Stanford’s numbers didn’t change much. Other institutions with a significant rise in numbers are the University of California, Berkeley (from 24 to 35), and Princeton University (from 9 to 14). 

The most significant decline was noted for Microsoft Research, which had 25 scientists in 2018 and only 12 in 2020.

Among 14 leading institutions 11 are universities based in the US, three are based in Europe (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, ETH Zurich from Switzerland, and KU Leuven from Belgium) and two are private companies (Google and Microsoft).

H-index ranking – leaders, averages, and distribution

For the third consecutive time, Professor Anil Jain, from the Michigan State University, US, tops the list of leading scientists with a high H-index of 188. Professor Jain is famously known for his seminal work in biometrics.

For Europe, Professor Andrew Zisserman from the University of Oxford, UK is ranked the first in the region with a world ranking of 11. 

Professor Guanrong Chen from City University of Hong Kong leads the top list in Asia with an H-index of 149 and world ranking at 16. 

For Oceania, Professor Rajkumar Buyya from the University of Melbourne in Australia, is on top of the list with a world ranking of 27. 

Professor Carlos A. Coello Coello who is affiliated with the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV-IPN) in Mexico is the first in South America with a world ranking of 314

The average H-index for the top 1% of scientists is 167 against an average of 85 for all 1000 scientists included in the ranking.

The scholar with the lowest index value who made it to the ranking in 2020 has an H-index of 66, a significant increase from 56 in 2018 which shows a very positive trend in the overall development of the scientific community.

The average number of articles indexed in DBLP for the 1% scientists in the ranking is 560 against an average of 327 for all 1000 scholars.

The average number of citations for the top 1% scientists is 221,710 against an average of 42,928 for all 1000 scholars.

The 6th edition of ranking is dedicated to the memory of Professor Thomas S. Huang who passed away on the 25th of April, 2020. Professor Huang ranks at the 12th position worldwide and is listed 9th for the United States. He was a recipient of many prestigious awards, including the IEEE Jack S. Kilby Signal Processing Medal for 2001.

You can learn more about the methodology used to create the ranking here.

About Guide2Research

All research was coordinated by Imed Bouchrika, PhD, a computer scientist with a well-established record of collaboration on a number of international research projects with different partners from the academic community. His role was to make sure all data remained unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date.

Guide2Research is the number one research portal for computer science. Our mission is to make it easier for professors, research fellows, and those studying for a PhD or a master’s degree to progress with their research and to ensure they are always up-to-date with the latest conferences around the world and publications related to their work. Guide2Research is also involved in the publication of an annual ranking of leading scientists in the field of computer science and electronics.

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