The Computer History Museum (CHM), the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society, today announced its 2012 Fellow Award honorees: Edward A. Feigenbaum, pioneer of artificial intelligence and expert systems; Steve Furber and Sophie Wilson, chief architects of the ARM processor architecture; and Fernando J. Corbató, pioneer of timesharing and the Multics operating system.
The four Fellows will be inducted into the Museum’s Hall of Fellows on Saturday, April 28, 2012, at a formal ceremony where Silicon Valley insiders, technology leaders, and Museum supporters will gather to celebrate the accomplishments of the Fellows and their impact on society. This year’s celebration commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Fellow Awards and will reunite pioneers from more than two decades.
The Fellow Awards bring to life the Computer History Museum’s mission to preserve and present the artifacts and stories of the information age. The tradition began with the Museum’s first Fellow, Grace Murray Hopper, and has grown to a distinguished and select group of 54 members. This award represents the highest achievement in computing, honoring the people who have forever changed the world with their innovations.
“The Fellows program recognizes the leading figures of the information age—men and women who have shaped the computing revolution and changed the world forever,” said John Hollar, Museum President and CEO. “The Fellows are a tremendously distinguished group, and we are honored to celebrate their work and achievements.”
Ed Feigenbaum: Edward A. Feigenbaum is a pioneer in the field of artificial intelligence and is often known as “the father of expert systems.” He founded the Knowledge Systems Laboratory at Stanford University and is currently a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Stanford University.
Along with Carl Djerassi, Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg, and others, Feigenbaum was a key member of the DENDRAL project (1965-82), which produced the world’s first expert system, a way of embodying knowledge in a computer to foster scientific discovery. DENDRAL’s groundbreaking accomplishments inspired a series of similar expert systems, moving artificial intelligence out of the laboratory and into the real world.
Feigenbaum holds a B.S. (1956) and Ph.D. (1960), both in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. His dissertation was supervised by legendary computer pioneer Herb Simon and explored a new computer model of how people learn. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1965.
Over a career spanning the history of artificial intelligence, he has written and spoken extensively on artificial intelligence topics, including publishing the seminal books “Computers and Thought,” “The Fifth Generation: Japan’s Computer Challenge to the World” and “The Rise of the Expert Company.”
In 1994, Feigenbaum received the ACM Turing Award. From 1994-97, he was Chief Scientist of the U.S. Air Force and in 2007 was inducted as a Fellow of the ACM.
Steve Furber: Steve Furber is ICL Professor of Computer Engineering in the School of Computer Science at the University of Manchester.
From 1981 to 1990, he worked in the research and development group at Acorn Computers Ltd and was a principal designer of the BBC Microcomputer (1982) and the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor.
Furber and colleague Sophie Wilson designed the Micro as part of a national TV program on personal computing. More than a million BBC Micros were sold and used in more than 80% of all U.K. schools. Furber and Wilson then co-designed the 32-bit RISC Machine processor (1985) to address a need at Acorn for a new microprocessor that outperformed any then-commercially available product.
The ARM processor core is now used in thousands of different products, from mobile phones and tablets to digital televisions and video games. It features greatly reduced power usage relative to other microprocessor designs and has enabled the mobile revolution in computing. The number of ARM processor cores now shipped exceeds 30 billion, or more than four ARM microprocessors for every person on earth.
Furber’s current research interests include the SpiNNaker project, which seeks to emulate a small portion of the human brain using one million ARM processor cores.
Furber has a B.A. in Mathematics (1974) and a Ph.D. in Aerodynamics (1980), both from the University of Cambridge, UK. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Computer Society (BCS), the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the IEEE. He lives in Wilmslow, Cheshire, in the UK.
Sophie Wilson: Sophie Wilson began studying computer science at Cambridge University in 1975. In 1977, she developed an automated cow-feeder for a Harrogate company during vacation, and next summer built, using the same 6502 microprocessor, the Acorn System 1, an early 8-bit microcomputer for hobbyists. This was produced commercially by British company Acorn Computers beginning in 1979.
Now working at Acorn, she and colleague Steve Furber took less than a week to design and implement the prototype of what became the BBC Microcomputer. Furber and Wilson refined their design over the same summer, with Wilson designing the operating system and writing the BBC BASIC interpreter.
Wilson and Furber then co-designed the 32-bit Acorn RISC Machine processor (ARM- 1985). This was used in Acorn’s first general-purpose home computer based on the ARM and Acorn designed support ICs, the Archimedes (1987 and onwards), and then in Apple Computer’s first personal digital assistant, the Newton (1992/93).
Wilson went on to design the Firepath processor and was one of the seven co-founders of Element 14, which exploited that processor in central office DSL applications. The company was purchased by Broadcom Corporation.
Wilson now works for Broadcom as Director of IC Design and is a Broadcom Distinguished Engineer. She has an M.A. in Computer Science from the University of Cambridge, UK and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and also a Fellow of the British Computer Society. She lives near Cambridge (UK).
Fernando Corbató: Fernando J. Corbató is a professor emeritus in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and a pioneer in computer operating systems. He has achieved wide recognition for his work on the design and development of multiple-access and timesharing computer systems. These systems allow many users to share the resources of a single large computer, a dramatic advance in the 1960s when laborious batch processing methods—with their often days-long waits—were the norm. This new method, called timesharing, allowed for truly interactive computing in which near-instantaneous response times dramatically increased productivity and user convenience.
Corbató was born on July 1, 1926, in Oakland, California and received his B.S. degree from Caltech (1950) and a Ph.D. from MIT (1956) in physics. He has been at MIT for his entire academic career.
In the late 1960s, Corbató led development of a groundbreaking new operating system, Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service), which in 1973 became the basis of a commercial system offered by Honeywell Information Systems. Multics was also a major influence for the now-ubiquitous Unix operating system.
In 1990, Corbató received the ACM Turing Award for his work on modern operating systems.
For more information on the 2011 Fellow Awards, please visit Fellow Awards website.
The Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View, California is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history as the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs and moving images. The Museum brings computer history to life through an acclaimed speaker series, dynamic website, docent-led tours and online exhibits.
The Museum’s signature exhibit on the history of computing is “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing.” Other exhibits include “Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2,” “Mastering the Game: A History of Computer Chess,” and “An Analog Life: Remembering Jim Williams.”