Forrester, Jay Wright

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b. 14 July 1918 Anselmo, Nebraska, USA
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American electrical engineer and management expert who invented the magnetic-core random access memory used in most early digital computers.
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Born on a cattle ranch, Forrester obtained a BSc in electrical engineering at the University of Nebraska in 1939 and his MSc at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he remained to teach and carry out research. Becoming interested in computing, he established the Digital Computer Laboratory at MIT in 1945 and became involved in the construction of Whirlwind I, an early general-purpose computer completed in March 1951 and used for flight-simulation by the US Army Air Force. Finding the linear memories then available for storing data a major limiting factor in the speed at which computers were able to operate, he developed a three-dimensional store based on the binary switching of the state of small magnetic cores that could be addressed and switched by a matrix of wires carrying pulses of current. The machine used parallel synchronous fixed-point computing, with fifteen binary digits and a plus sign, i.e. 16 bits in all, and contained 5,000 vacuum tubes, eleven semiconductors and a 2 MHz clock for the arithmetic logic unit. It occupied a two-storey building and consumed 150kW of electricity. From his experience with the development and use of computers, he came to realize their great potential for the simulation and modelling of real situations and hence for the solution of a variety of management problems, using data communications and the technique now known as interactive graphics. His later career was therefore in this field, first at the MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, Massachusetts (1951) and subsequently (from 1956) as Professor at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
National Academy of Engineering 1967. George Washington University Inventor of the Year 1968. Danish Academy of Science Valdemar Poulsen Gold Medal 1969. Systems, Man and Cybernetics Society Award for Outstanding Accomplishments 1972. Computer Society Pioneer Award 1972. Institution of Electrical Engineers Medal of Honour 1972. National Inventors Hall of Fame 1979. Magnetics Society Information Storage Award 1988. Honorary DEng Nebraska 1954, Newark College of Engineering 1971, Notre Dame University 1974. Honorary DSc Boston 1969, Union College 1973. Honorary DPolSci Mannheim University, Germany. Honorary DHumLett, State University of New York 1988.
Bibliography
1951, "Data storage in three dimensions using magnetic cores", Journal of Applied Physics 20: 44 (his first description of the core store).
Publications on management include: 1961, Industrial Dynamics, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press; 1968, Principles of Systems, 1971, Urban Dynamics, 1980, with A.A.Legasto \& J.M.Lyneis, System Dynamics, North Holland. 1975, Collected Papers, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT.
Further Reading
K.C.Redmond \& T.M.Smith, Project Whirlwind, the History of a Pioneer Computer (provides details of the Whirlwind computer).
H.H.Goldstine, 1993, The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann, Princeton University Press (for more general background to the development of computers).
Serrell et al., 1962, "Evolution of computing machines", Proceedings of the Institute of
Radio Engineers 1,047.
M.R.Williams, 1975, History of Computing Technology, London: Prentice-Hall.
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Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Forrester, Jay Wright — born July 14, 1918, Anselmo, Neb., U.S. U.S. electrical engineer and management expert. He taught and conducted research at MIT, where in 1945 he founded the Digital Computer Laboratory. There he invented the magnetic core random access memory… …   Universalium

  • Forrester, Jay Wright — (n. 14 jul. 1918, Anselmo, Neb., EE.UU.). Ingeniero eléctrico y experto en administración estadounidense. Enseñó y condujo investigaciones en el MIT, donde en 1945 fundó el Laboratorio de computación digital. Ahí inventó la memoria de acceso… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jay Wright Forrester — (né le 14 juillet 1918, Climax, Nebraska) est un pionnier américain en informatique et un théoricien des systèmes. Né dans une ferme près d’Anselmo, Nebraska, Forrester étudie l’électrotechnique au Massachusetts Institute of Technology où il… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jay Wright Forrester — (* 14. Juli 1918 in Climax, Nebraska) ist ein Pionier der Computertechnik und der Systemdynamik. Biographie Forrester wurde als Sohn eines Lehrerehepaars geboren, das als Viehzüchter auf einer einsamen Farm lebte. Schon mit 9 Jahren führte er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jay Wright Forrester — Infobox Scientist name = Jay Forrester image size = caption = birth date = Birth date and age|1918|7|14|df=y birth place = Climax, Nebraska death date = death place = occupation = spouse = awards = IEEE Medal of HonorJay Wright Forrester (born 14 …   Wikipedia

  • Jay Wright Forrester — …   Википедия

  • Jay Forrester — Jay Wright Forrester Jay Wright Forrester (né le 14 juillet 1918, Climax, Nebraska) est un pionnier américain en informatique et un théoricien des systèmes. Né dans une ferme près d’Anselmo, Nebraska, Forrester étudie l’électrotechnique au… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jay W. Forrester — Jay Wright Forrester Jay Wright Forrester (né le 14 juillet 1918, Climax, Nebraska) est un pionnier américain en informatique et un théoricien des systèmes. Né dans une ferme près d’Anselmo, Nebraska, Forrester étudie l’électrotechnique au… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jay — /jay/, n. 1. John, 1745 1829, U.S. statesman and jurist: first Chief Justice of the U.S. 1789 95. 2. a male given name. * * * I Any of 35–40 bird species (family Corvidae) that inhabit woodlands and are known for their bold, raucous manner. Most… …   Universalium

  • Wright — Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Wright, Wilbur * * * (as used in expressions) Forrester, Jay Wright Mills, C(harles) Wright Archibald Lee Wright Thomas Wright Waller Wright, Frances Fanny Wright Wright, Frank Lloyd …   Enciclopedia Universal

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