1976 Distinguished Service Award: Gene Amdahl

// Engineering Physics

Tags: alumni, Engineers' Day, EP E-Day, Gene Amdahl

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GENE M. AMDAHL Gene M. Amdahl
Chairman of the Board of Directors
Amdahl Corporation
Sunnyvale, California
PhD Physics ’52

For his development of very large, very high speed digital computers.

Born, Flandreau, South Dakota, November 16, 1922.

B.S. (Engineering Physics) 1948, South Dakota State University.

Ph. D. (Physics) 1952, University of Wisconsin.

While working for his Ph.D. degree he collaborated with C. H. Davidson on the design of an innovative computer named the WISC. This computer in the Department of Electrical Engineering enabled the University of Wisconsin College of Engineering to get an early start in computer education and led directly to the present Engineering Computer Laboratory. After leaving the University he accepted a position as Project Engineer with IBM. He left IBM after three years to work for Ramo-Wooldridge on radar track following techniques for a short time and then joined Aeronutronics as Manager of Date Processing Engineering. He returned to IBM as Director of Computer Research in 1960 where he had primary responsibility for the IBM 360 and its later model, the IBM 370, which became the most widely used computers in the world. In 1970 he left IBM to form his own company and produced the Amdahl 470 which is now recognized as the world’s fastest and most powerful computer.

He is a member of the American Physical Society, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Fellow), and the National Academy of Engineering. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award from South Dakota State University in 1970. He is presently a Director of Compata, Inc., of Los Angeles and also a Counselor and Member of the Board of Directors of Fujitsu Ltd. of Tokyo, Japan.