Frederick P. Brooks was born in Durham, North Carolina, in 1931. He holds an AB in physics from Duke University (1953), and an SM in applied mathematics (1955) and a PhD in computer science (1956), both from Harvard University. His dissertation was supervised by legendary computer pioneer Howard Aiken.
Upon graduation, Brooks joined IBM and served as one of the architects of IBM's groundbreaking Stretch and Harvest supercomputers, making several early and important contributions. From 1961 to 1965, he was corporate project manager for the IBM System/360, the most important product in company history at that time, developing both hardware and software.
Brooks joined the University of North Carolina in 1964, where he founded the department of computer science and served as chairman for its first 20 years. His research has included computer architecture, software engineering, and interactive 3-d computer graphics, or "virtual reality." His book, The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, is a classic in the field of computer project management.
Brooks holds dozens of awards, including the ACM Turing Award (1999). He shares the US National Medal of Technology (1985) with IBM's Bob Evans and Erich Bloch for his work on System/360.