• unknown (b.)

Bio/Description

A computer scientist, artist and inventor, he is best known for his involvement in the APL programming language. As an undergraduate at Stanford University in 1961, he created the first computer animation language and system and used it at Stanford football half-times to coordinate images produced by a 100 ft-by-100 ft array of rooters holding up colored cards. As a graduate student at Stanford, he corresponded with APL's inventor, Ken Iverson, to correct the formal description of the IBM System/360 which used Iverson's notation. After receiving his M.S. degree from Stanford in 1965, he joined Iverson's group at IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he co-created the first implementation of APL on the IBM 7090, along with Philip S. Abrams, also of Stanford University; Abrams' academic supervisor being Niklaus Wirth. After he and Abrams joined the team at IBM Research, they continued their prior work on an implementation programmed in FORTRAN IV for a portion of the notation was done for the IBM 7090 computer running under the IBSYS operating system. This work was finished in late 1965 and later known as IVSYS (Iverson System). The basis of this implementation was described in detail by Abrams in a Stanford University Technical Report, "An Interpreter for Iverson Notation" in 1966. Like Hellerman's PAT system earlier, this implementation did not include the APL character set but used special English reserved words for functions and operators. The system was later adapted for a time-sharing system and, by November 1966, it had been reprogrammed for the IBM/360 Model 50 computer running in a time sharing mode and was used internally at IBM. A key development in the ability to use APL effectively, before the widespread use of CRT terminals, was the development of a special IBM Selectric typewriter interchangeable typeball with all the special APL characters on it. This was used on paper printing terminal workstations using the Selectric typewriter and typeball mechanism, such as the IBM 1050 and IBM 2741 terminal. Keycaps could be placed over the normal keys to show which APL characters would be entered and typed when that key was struck. For the first time, a programmer could actually type in and see real APL characters as used in Iverson's notation and not be forced to use awkward English keyword representations of them. He later created APL implementations for an experimental IBM "Little Computer" in 1966, for the IBM 360 in 1966, and for the IBM 1130. He was the 1973 recipient (with Dick Lathwell and Roger Moore) of the Grace Murray Hopper Award from the Association for Computing Machinery "for their work in the design and implementation of APL\360, setting new standards in simplicity, efficiency, reliability and response time for interactive systems." Along with Dan Dyer and others, he co-founded Scientific Time Sharing Corporation in 1969, where he led the development of the APL PLUS time-sharing system. While there, in 1972, he and Francis Bates III wrote one of the world's first worldwide email systems, called "Mailbox". He rejoined IBM in 1977 and helped develop the ISO APL standard. He then joined IBM efforts to port BSD Unix onto IBM platforms. He worked on C language compilers, floating point standardization, and radix conversion until retiring in 1992. He is the author of “The APL PLUS File System”, Proceedings of SHARE XXXV, p.392 - August 1970; and “Generalizing APL scalar extension”, ACM SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 6 Issue 5, July 1971. On a personal note, he became a significant contributor to the Burning Man festival, under the playa name of Ember. He conceived and built the first "trash fence" to capture windborne debris; created the spiraling, flaming sculpture "Chaotick"; built artistic bicycle light effects; edited and proofread the Black Rock Gazette newspaper, a role in which he continues as a co-founder and director of its successor the Black Rock Beacon, and other Burning Man materials; as an Earth Guardian, promoted the "Leave No Trace" ethos, particularly in post-event cleanup. He devised the "Gray-B-Gon", an evaporator for graywater disposal, and through Bay Area workshops directed construction, by Burning Man campers, of over 100 units (as of 2012.) In 1973 and 1974 he took first place, with co-solver Donna Breed, in the Dictionary Rally.