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Fred Brooks

Fred BrooksAKA Frederick Phillips Brooks, Jr.

Born: 19-Apr-1931
Birthplace: Durham, NC

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Computer Programmer, Scientist, Author
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Father of the IBM System 360

Computer engineer Fred Brooks worked at IBM during the early supercomputer era, where he was part of the teams that developed IBM's pioneering Stretch and Harvest computers. He coined the term "computer architecture", and later oversaw development of the IBM System/360 — the backbone of the first generation of commercial computers — and managed the software team that designed the OS/360 operating system. His work is seen as defining the still-dominant concept that distinguishes between computer hardware and software, and allows the separate but dynamically interlocking development of these two fields.

He is well known for what is now called Brooks' Law, which summarizes problems inherent in increasing the staff of a troubled project: "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later." He has said that a central element of his team's success with the IBM 360 is that as the project progressed, his team effectively "shut out" interference from the company's hierarchy.

Since leaving IBM in 1964, Brooks has taught computer science at the the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work over recent decades involves virtual environments, comprised of real-time, three-dimensional, computer graphics which have helped biochemists understand the structure of complex molecules and allowed architects to create "walk-through" motion pictures showing the interiors of buildings based on architectural plans. Despite his association with IBM, Brooks said in a 2010 interview with Computer World magazine that his favorite computer is a Macintosh laptop.

Wife: Nancy Greenwood Brooks (two sons, one daughter)
Son: Kenneth (b. 14-Aug-1958)
Son: Roger (b. 25-Dec-1961)
Daughter: Barbara (b. 24-Feb-1965)

    University: BA Physics, Duke University (1953)
    University: MS Applied Mathematics, Harvard University (1955)
    University: PhD Computer Science, Harvard University (1956)
    Professor: Computer Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1964-75)
    Professor: Kenan Prof. of Computer Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1975-)

    IBM Director of System Architecture (1956-60)
    IBM Computer Engineer (1956-60)
    IEEE W. Wallace McDowell Award 1970
    Guggenheim Fellowship 1975
    IEEE Computer Pioneer Award 1982
    National Medal of Technology and Innovation 1985
    ACM Distinguished Service Award 1987
    ACM Harry Goode Memorial Award 1989
    IEEE John von Neumann Medal 1993
    AAAI Allen Newell Award 1994
    Franklin Institute's Henry Bower Award 1995
    Turing Award 1999
    ACM/IEEE Eckert–Mauchly Award 2004
    IEEE Virtual Reality Award 2010
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1976
    Association for Computing Machinery 1953
    British Computer Society Foreign Fellow
    Eagle Forum
    IEEE 1968
    National Academy of Engineering 1976
    National Academy of Sciences 2001
    National Research Council
    National Science Foundation
    Royal Academy of Engineering Foreign Member, 1994
    Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences Foreign Member, 1991
    US Atomic Energy Commission Math & Computer Advisory Committee, 1967-72
    Elizabeth Dole Committee
    Huckabee for President
    John McCain 2008
    National Republican Congressional Committee
    National Republican Senatorial Committee

Official Website:

Author of books:
Automatic Data Processing, System/360 Edition (1969, with Kenneth E. Iverson)
The Mythical Man-Month: Essays in Software Engineering (1975)
Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution (1997, with Gerrit A. Blaauw)
The Design of Design: Essays from A Computer Scientist (2009)

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