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Issue No.02 - April-June (1997 vol.14)
pp: 5-13
<p>As a graduate student in physics at the University of Wisconsin during the late 1940s, Gene Amdahl designed his first computer, built as the Wisconsin Integrally Synchronized Computer (WISC). He went on to become the "father" of IBM's System/360 and an industry leader in mainframe design. Though Amdahl's work has focused on computers that serve hundreds of concurrent users, he has also pioneered techniques and ideas that resonate throughout the industry. For instance, Amdahl Corporation computers were the first to use virtually addressed caching, now standard in most architectures. Advocating uniprocessors over multiprocessors, Amdahl also propounded what became known as Amdahl's law.</p><p>Beyond these contributions to the evolution of computing, Amdahl's career epitomizes the roller-coaster ride of high-tech business over the last four decades. After leaving IBM, Amdahl founded Amdahl Corporation, Trilogy Systems Corporation, Andor International, and Commercial Data Servers, where he is now chairman of the board.</p><p>In 1980, Amdahl was a charter recipient of the IEEE Computer Society Computer Pioneer award. In 1987, the Eckert-Mauchly Award Committee recognized him for his "outstanding innovations in computer architecture, including pipelining, instruction look-ahead, and cache memory."</p><p>Amdahl's other awards include the IEEE Computer Society W. Wallace McDowell Award, the AFIPS Harry Goode Award, the Data Processing Management Association Computer Science Man of the Year, and a place in the Information Processing Hall of Fame. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the IEEE, and a distinguished fellow of the British Computer Society.</p><p><it>D&T</it> Editor-in-Chief Ken Wagner's interview with Gene Amdahl provides a first-hand account of this remarkable career and a unique perspective on the state of the industry, the future of mainframes, and the validity of Amdahl's law.</p>
"Adventures in the Mainframe Trade", IEEE Design & Test of Computers, vol.14, no. 2, pp. 5-13, April-June 1997, doi:10.1109/MDT.1997.10011
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