Peter Samson

Peter Samson has had a wide-ranging career in computer hardware and software. At MIT he wrote the first editions of the The Model Railroad Club (TMRC) Dictionary, the predecessor of the current "Jargon File." He also developed pioneering software for real-time digital music synthesis on the TX-0 and PDP-1 computers, and wrote the "expensive planetarium" star display for Spacewar!

Samson contributed key architectural concepts to Digital Equipment Corporation for the PDP-6 computer and wrote the first FORTRAN compiler for that machine. In 1967, he programmed the PDP-6 with the complete schedules of the New York subway system, and used it interactively on-line to win the competition for traveling through the entire system in minimum time.

At Systems Concepts, Inc. in San Francisco, Samson was Director of Marketing and Director of Program Development. In software, he programmed the first Chinese-character digital communication system; in hardware he designed the Systems Concepts Digital Synthesizer, then the world's largest and most capable music synthesizer, which served for more than a decade as principal synthesis engine for the computer music group at Stanford University (CCRMA).

He was in charge of manufacturing engineering for many hardware products, including the Central Memory subsystem for the ILLIAC IV supercomputer complex at the NASA/Ames Research Center.

He later worked for Autodesk, Inc. and contributed significant modules for rendering, animation, Web browsing, and scripting languages. For work done there, Samson has received U.S. patents in the areas of software anti-piracy and virtual reality.

Samson was a student at MIT from 1958-1963.


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