Frieder Nake (1938, Stuttgart) is a mathematician, computer scientist, and pioneer of computer art.
He studied mathematics at the University of Stuttgart, where he earned his diploma and doctoral degrees (in probability theory).
He produced his first works in 1963 and participated in one of the first exhibitions of computer art at Galerie Wendelin Niedlich in Stuttgart in 1965. His early work was influenced by Max Bense's concept of Information Aesthetics.
Nake's main work phases are identified by collections of programs called compArt ER56 (1963-1965), Walk-through-raster (1966), Matrix multiplication (1967/1968), and Generative aesthetics I (1968/1969). He declared not to continue producing computer art in 1971 when he published a note under the title, There should be no computer art in the Bulletin of the Computer Arts Society. His reasons were mainly of political origin: He did not see how he could actively contribute to computer art and, at the same time, be a political activist against capitalism.
In 1999, he co-founded with Susanne Grabowski and Matthias Krauß the project compArt: a space for computer art (later compArt: Centre of Excellence Digital Art), a large online database dedicated to early digital art.
Nake has been a professor of interactive computer graphics at the Department of Computer Science at Bremen since 1972. He taught and was a visiting professor in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.