Noll was born in Walnut Creek, California, United States. At age 18, he became the youngest person to break the record for the largest known prime. He has held or co-held the record three times.
He is also the co-inventor (with John Horton Conway) of a system for naming arbitrarily large powers of 10.
He also helped start the International Obfuscated C Code Contest, and is a co-inventor of the Fowler Noll Vo hash function. Noll is an astronomer.
His work includes measuring the Solar parallax during the 2004 Transit of Venus as well as the search for Vulcanoid asteroids. He was also involved in politics as a Sunnyvale, California city council member and vice-mayor.