Burks, Arthur Walter

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b. 13 October 1915 Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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American engineer involved in the development of the ENIAC and Whirlwind computers.
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After obtaining his AB degree from De Pere University, Wisconsin (1937), and his AM and PhD from the University of Michigan (1938 and 1941, respectively), Burks carried out research at the Moore School of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, during the Second World War, and at the same time taught philosophy in another department. There, with Herman Goldstine, he was involved in the construction of ENIAC (the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer).
In 1946 he took a post as Assistant Professor of Engineering at Michigan University, and subsequently became Associate Professor (1948) and Full Professor (1954). Between 1946 and 1948 he was also associated with the computer activities of John von Neumann at the Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, and was involved in the development of the Whirlwind I computer (the first stored-program computer) by Jay Forrester at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1948 until 1954 he was a consultant for the Burroughs Corporation and also contributed to the Oak Ridge computer ORACLE. He was Chairman of the Michigan University Department of Communications Science in 1967–71 and at various times was Visiting Professor at Harvard University and the universities of Illinois and Stanford. In 1975 he became Editor of the Journal of Computer and System Sciences.
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Bibliography
1946. "Super electronic computing machine", Electronics Industry 62.
1947. "Electronic computing circuits of the ENIAC", Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers 35:756.
1980, "From ENIAC to the stored program computer. Two revolutions in computing", in N.Metropolis, J.Hewlett \& G.-C.Rota (eds), A History of Computing in the 20th Century, London: Academic Press.
Further Reading
J.W.Corlada, 1987, Historical Dictionary of Data Processing (provides further details of Burk's career).
KF

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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