• Mar 2, 1957
    (b.) - ?


An American inventor and a computer engineer, he is one of the scientists responsible for creating the computer technology currently being used in more than 40 million personal computers produced each year. He is the first African-American to become an IBM Fellow (1995); the highest level of technical excellence at the company. A year later, he was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year President's Award, and in 1997, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was slated to be a member of the National Academy of Engineers. Born in Jefferson City, Tennessee; in elementary school, he excelled in math taking the same math courses as the older children. He built his first computer, radio and amplifier while in high school. In Jefferson City High School, he excelled in many different areas, standing out as a gifted athlete and graduating with straight A's. He went on to obtain a Bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee graduating at the top of his class, in 1979. He also obtained a Master's degree from Florida Atlantic University in 1982 and a Ph.D. from Stanford University ten years later; all in Electrical Engineering. He began working for IBM in 1980 where he helped develop a number of landmark technologies for IBM, including the color PC monitor and the first gigahertz chip. He was part of the team with engineer Dennis Moeller, which developed the interior architecture (ISA systems bus) that enables multiple peripherals, such as disk drives, monitors, modems and printers to be connected to personal computers. In 1998, he led a team of engineers at IBM's Austin, Texas, lab that produced the 1 GHz chip (a revolutionary piece of technology that is able to do a billion calculations a second), which contains 1 million transistors and will eventually be applied to microprocessors. The 1 GHz chip's potential is limitless. He was previously CTO for IBM Middle East and Africa and was an IBM Vice President overseeing the company's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California prior to that. He holds more than 20 US patents including three of IBM's original nine PC patents. In August 2011, writing in his blog, he stated that he “now uses a tablet computer instead of a PC.” His patents include those geared toward allowing people to add new devices to their personal computers - simplifying the way printers, scanners or graphics are added, or devising a technology friendly to vendors who build plug-ins. Many of his patents are in the area of new features such as a set of graphics so that elements (pictures on the screen) are cleaner. Currently, he is the John Fisher Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee. He also taught Computer Science at Harvard.
  • Date of Birth:

    Mar 2, 1957
  • Gender:

  • Noted For:

    Co-developer of the interior architecture (ISA systems bus) that enables multiple devices, such as modems and printers, to be connected to personal computers
  • Category of Achievement:

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