J.N. Patterson Hume was born in Brooklyn, NY, (March 17,1923) and educated at the University of Toronto where he received the BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Physics in 1945, 1946 and 1949 respectively. He was instrumental in founding the Department of Computer Science in 1964, having worked since 1952 in the development of software: creating an operating system, a debugging facility, and a programming language with compiler for the Ferut Computer. He was the Associate Dean for Physical Sciences in the Graduate School 1968-72, and Chair of the Department of Computer Science from 1975-80. He is a Member of the Order of Canada, an ACM Fellow, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

He has received a number of awards for his work in educational television and films on Physics in the late 1950's and early 1960's: from the Ohio State University, the Scientific Institute in Rome, the Edison Foundation in New York, and the Royal Canadian Institute. He holds a Silver Core Award from IFIP, a Distinguished Service Citation from the American Association of Physics Teachers, and an Award of Merit from the City of Toronto. For seven years prior to his retirement in 1988, he was Master of Massey College. He was the recipient of the Sandford Fleming Award in 2001. In 2002, he was inducted into the C.I.P.A. Hall of Fame. In 2006 he was granted a Doctor of Science from Queen's University

His research interests were in programming languages and the analysis of computer systems. In retirement, he promoted the Turing and Java languages and written many texts, both at the high school and university level. Professor Hume was Professor Emeritus of the Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto and Master Emeritus of Massey College. He died peacefully on May 9th 2013.