Computer History Museum Welcomes New Fellows
Written by Sue Gee   
Saturday, 04 May 2019

At a ceremony today, the Computer History Museum is welcoming  the four recipients of it 2019 Fellow Awards. They are James Gosling, Leslie Lamport, Katherine Johnson and Louis Pouzin.


The Fellow Awards were established in 1987 as part of the Computer History Museum's vision to explore the computing revolution and its impact on the human experience. They:

honor exceptional men and women whose ideas have changed the world.  

Grace Hopper, creator of Cobol, was the first ever recipient and the number of Fellow Awards has reached 84 this year. 



James Gosling is honored for:

the conception, design, and implementation of the Java programming language.

Gosling received his BS in computer science from the University of Calgary in 1977 and did his PhD at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), where he developed a variant on Emacs and wrote a version of the UNIX operating system for multiprocessor computer systems. Also while at CMU he ported UCSD Pascal p-code from a PERQ workstation to run on a DEC VAX computer system by writing a VAX emulator. Later when working on the Sun Java project, Gosling cited this early work as inspiration for the concept of a Java virtual machine, one that would allow code written once to run on multiple platforms by allowing programmers to always code for the same virtual machine.

After 26 years at Sun, Gosling left the company just after Oracle acquired it in 2010, working briefly at Google and then at Liquid Robotics, a company making autonomous ocean-going robots used in oceanographic and atmospheric research. He joined Amazon Web Services as Distinguished Engineer in May 2017.

Previous recognition includes being made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007, and a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2013. In 21015 hew was awarded the awarded rgw  IEEE John von Neumann Medal. Gosling was among the 40 Java Champions recognized by Oracle in 2018 and was one of the language creators included in Four Of Most Important Language Designers In Conversation 

Leslie Lamport:is honored for:

his contributions to the analysis and design of distributed computer systems, and for the initial creation of the LaTeX document production system.

Lamport graduated from MIT in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and then attended Brandeis University for a master’s and doctorate in mathematics (1972), while working part-time, from 1962–1965, at the Mitre Corporation. His thesis focused on partial differential equations. Lamport’s professional career began in 1970 at Massachusetts Computer Associates (until 1977), SRI International from 1977 to 1985, and Digital Equipment Corporation and Compaq from 1985 to 2001. Since 2001 he has been with Microsoft Research, where he is a Distinguished Scientist.

As we reported at the time, Lamport was the recipient of the 2013 ACM A.M. Turing Award  for his work in distributed computing and we also have a lecture entitled "Programming Should Be More Than Coding" he gave at the Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium in 2015.

Katherine Johnson is honored for:

her exceptional calculations during the US space programs that brought the first humans to the Moon.

Born in 1918, Johnson exhibited a remarkable talent for mathematics from a young age and skipped several grades in school, beginning high school at only 10 years old. Following her graduation at age 14, she enrolled at West Virginia State College, where she mastered every mathematics course offered including several specialty courses were added specifically for her graduating summa cum laude in 1937 with degrees in both mathematics and French. Two years later she became the first African-American woman to enroll at the graduate level at West Virginia University, however she left after a year. 

Still wanting to pursue a career in mathematics, in 1953 Johnson secured a job at the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. Initially she was part of an all-woman team that performed mathematical analysis on data collected from flight tests and the black boxes of airplanes, a group which she referred to as “computers who wore skirts.” Later, when NACA had become NASA , she coauthored "Determination of Azimuth Angle at Burnout for Placing a Satellite Over a Selected Earth Position", an important report that laid out the equations for determining landing position for orbital spaceflight and calculated the trajectories for space missions, starting with Alan Shepard’s Freedom 7 Earth orbital mission in 1961 and then for John Glenn's Friendship 7 orbital flight. Glenn and some of the other astronauts were wary of entrusting their lives to equations run on electronic computers and specifically asked for Johnson to perform the calculations that had been run on the computers. Using a desktop mechanical calculator, Johnson confirmed the numbers from the computer. After her confirmation, Glenn said “If she says they’re good, then I’m ready to go.”  Having helped calculate the trajectory for the Apollo 11 mission that delivered the first humans to the lunar surface, Johnson also provided equations that turned out to be essential to the survival of the Apollo 13 mission after it was forced to abort. She remained with NASA through 1986, working on the space shuttle and Earth Resource Satellite programs. She has received many honors for her work with NASA, including the National Medal of Freedom, awarded by President Barack Obama, in 2015.

Louis Pouzin is honored for:

the pioneering design and implementation of packet communication networks that led the way to the internet.

After graduating from the École polytechnique, France's top engineering university in 1952, Pouzin initially designed machine tools for the national telecommunications monopoly. But he found himself drawn to computing. After leading a team of software engineers on a mainframe project at Machines Bull, he joined MIT to work on its Compatible Time-Sharing System. There he also worked on email as well as creating a program called RUNCOM to simplify entering repetitive commands. He called it a “shell,” now a generic term for such programs.

In 1971 he was asked to develop a national computer network for France and toured the US to study the recently deployed ARPANET. He was impressed by its scale but considered its design overly complex and overly reliant on the reliability of the network between the sender and receiver. He also studied the NPL Mark I network developed by British networking pioneer Donald Davies.

CYCLADES, the network built bu  Pouzin and his team at the French national computing laboratory was an early packet communications network. Its minimalist design was based around an innovation Pouzin called “datagrams”,  which could take any available route and arrive in any order, and if some got lost the receiver would simply ask for them to be re-sent. This “connectionless” datagram design was ideal for sending data over networks you didn't control and therefore promising for the  challenge facing networking pioneers of how to smoothly hook incompatible networks together into networks of networks, termed internets.

In 1972 Pouzin was a key founder of the International Packet Network Working Group (INWG), in cooperation with ARPA in the US and two major international standards bodies which assembled networking pioneers from around the world. They had experimental internets running by the mid-1970s, including one that evolved into the global internet we use today. Although CYCLADES was canceled by 1978  When ARPA's TCP internet standard was finally deployed in 1983, it had added a datagram capability. The hybrid was now called TCP/IP, with “IP” standing for “Internet Protocol.” Pouzin continues to develop networking protocols, including radical alternatives to TCP/IP and the Domain Name System.

In 2013, Pouzin was one of the winners of the inaugural Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. He has also received the ACM SIGCOMM Award (1997) and been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame (2012). He was named a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French government in 2003 and promoted to Officer in 2018.



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Last Updated ( Saturday, 04 May 2019 )