1999 Turing:Fred Brooks

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From: Rohit Khare (rohit@uci.edu)
Date: Thu Jan 06 2000 - 13:33:51 PST


Known For Work on Operating System/360 Software & Author of Defining
Publication in Software Engineering Field, The Mythical Man-Month

New York, Jan. 5, 2000 -- The Association for Computing Machinery
today announced the selection of Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., as the
winner of the 1999 A.M. Turing Award, considered the Nobel Prize of
Computing. Dr. Brooks was chosen for his landmark contributions to
computer architecture, operating systems, and software engineering --
contributions that have stood the test of time and shaped the way we
think about computing.

Dr. Brooks, who coined the term Computer Architecture, was manager
for the development of the IBM Corporation's System/360 family of
computers and Operating System/360 software. He led the team that
first achieved strict compatibility, upward and downward, in a
computer family. Dr. Brooks was also an architect of the Stretch and
Harvest computers during his tenure at IBM. With Dura Sweeney,
Brooks invented a Stretch interrupt system that introduced most of
the features of today's interrupt systems.

Commenting on the award, Dr. Brooks said, "It is indeed a high honor
to be associated with the distinguished computer scientists and great
people who have won the Turing Award over the past three decades."

Dr. Edward Lazowska, chair of the 1999 Turing Award Committee, said,
"Fred Brooks has changed the face of computing: the way we think
about computer architecture,
the way we engineer software, and the way we use 3D interactive
computer graphics to advance other fields. Beyond these
extraordinary technical contributions, Fred is a true gentleman with
enormous personal integrity, whose leadership has shaped our
discipline in countless ways. I'm delighted that this long-overdue
recognition occurred on my
watch." Dr. Lazowska is also Chair of the Department of Computer Science &
Engineering at the University of Washington, and Chair of the
National Science Foundation Advisory Committee for Computer and
Information Science and Engineering.

Dr. Brooks' early concern for word processing led to his selection of
the 8-bit byte, the decision to make the byte the addressable unit,
and the inclusion of a full character set. All of these concepts are
now universal practice. In 1997, Dr. Brooks co-authored, with G.A.
Blaauw, Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution. The book
documents and exemplifies the power of their 1960's innovation of
thinking about computer design as separable domains: architecture,
implementation and realization.

Similarly, many of the technical innovations found in OS/360 -- such
as the approach to I/O handling, and the method of transition between
supervisor and user modes -- are foundations of today's operating

Even more influential, though, is the distillation of the successes
and failures in the development of OS/360 that Dr. Brooks captured in
his 1975 book, "The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software
Engineering." Today, 25 years, two editions, and 300,000 copies
later, this book remains a defining work in the field of software

Dr. Brooks left IBM in 1965 to found the Computer Science Department
at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. There, his
research on real-time, three-dimensional computer graphics has
propelled that field forward, driven by the goal of creating tools
that enable scientists and engineers to tackle problems formerly
beyond their reach. Dr. Brooks and his students built the first
molecular graphics system on which a new protein structure was
solved. They also first proved that haptic displays augmenting
visual displays can significantly improve a scientist's understanding
of data.

Brooks received his A.B. in physics from Duke University in 1953, and
completed his Ph.D. in computer science in 1956, under Howard Aiken.

ACM will present the award to Dr. Brooks during its annual awards
ceremony on Saturday, May 6, 2000, at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel.
The A.M. Turing Award is the latest ACM award for Dr. Brooks, who is
an ACM Fellow. In 1994, he was the first recipient of the Allen
Newell award. He also won the Distinguished Service award (DSA) in

The A.M. Turing Award

A prize of $25,000 accompanies ACM's most prestigious technical
award. It is given to an individual selected for contributions of a
technical nature made to the computing community. The contributions
should be of lasting technical importance to the computer field.
Financial support for the A.M. Turing award is provided by Lucent
Technologies, Inc.

The Association for Computing Machinery (www.acm.org)

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the oldest and
largest international association of computer professionals, and is a
major force in advancing the skills of information technology
professionals and students. ACM serves its membership by delivering
cutting-edge information and transferring ideas from theory to
practice. With its world-class journals and magazines, dynamic
special interest groups, numerous conferences, workshops and forums,
ACM is a primary resource to the IT field.

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