1999 – Frederick P. Brooks"For landmark contributions to computer architecture, operating systems, and software engineering."
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Frederick P. Brooks Jr. has made 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 received the A.B. in Physics from Duke University in 1953, and completed his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Harvard University in 1956, under Howard Aiken.
Dr. Brooks joined the IBM Corporation in 1956. He was an architect of the Stretch and Harvest computers, and there coined the term "computer architecture." With Dura Sweeney, he invented a Stretch interrupt system that introduced most of the features of today's interrupt systems. Later, as manager for the development of IBM's System/360 family of computers and Operating System/360 software, and he led the team that first achieved strict compatibility, upward and downward, in a computer family. His 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 the full character set. All of these concepts are now universal practice. The 1997 book with G.A. Blaauw, Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution, 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 systems. Even more influential, though, is the distillation of the successes and failures of the development of OS/360 that Dr. Brooks captured in his 1975 book The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering. Today ' twenty-five years, two editions, and 300,000 copies later - this book remains a defining work in the field of software engineering.
In 1965, Dr. Brooks left IBM 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 to enable scientists and engineers to tackle problems formerly beyond their reach. He 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.