Jim Fiori recently presented at Virginia Tech's Association for Computing Machinery Meeting. My oldest son, John, blogged about Jim's GREAT 2 1/2 presentation. Jim's slides are also here.
If I was told, "Dave, you get to pick one person on planet earth to solve the most difficult software performance problem mankind has ever seen, and if this person fails, the earth as we know it burns up in an attosecond."
No disprespect to those computer legends above, but I would select Jim Fiori. Jim Fiori is a great example of Malcom Gladwell's Outliers primary premise, which is you need to get to 10,000 hours of actual hands on experience, along with selecting the right parents, being born at the right time and finally, being in the right place at the right time - Jim Fiori meets all of these criteria.
Jim Fiori is a Principal Field Technologist at Sun Microsystems and is THE GOD IN SOFTWARE PERFORMANCE TUNING AND PROBLEM SOLVING.