On February 24, 2020 died Katherine Johnson. She was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights. During her 35-year career at NASA and its predecessor, she earned a reputation for mastering complex manual calculations and helped pioneer the use of computers to perform the tasks. The space agency noted her “historical role as one of the first African-American women to work as a NASA scientist”.
On February 26, 2005 died Jef Raskin. He was an American human–computer interface expert best known for conceiving and starting the Macintosh project at Apple in the late 1970s.Raskin started the Macintosh project in 1979. He later hired his former student Bill Atkinson from UCSD to work at Apple, along with Andy Hertzfeld and Burrell Smith from the Apple Service Department, which was located in the same building as the Publications Department. Secretly bypassing Jobs’s ego and authority by continually securing permission and funding directly at the executive level, Raskin created and solely supervised the Macintosh project for approximately its first year.
National Security Agency’s Harvest Computer Retires
The IBM 7950, a supercomputer also known as the Harvest System, ceased operating after 14 years serving the National Security Agency. The Harvest was a one-of-a-kind adjunct to the Stretch computer and was delivered in 1962. It was designed for cryptanalysis by James H. Pomerene. Its electronics, built from the same kind of discrete transistors used for Stretch, were about twice as big (physically) as the Stretch. Harvest added a small number of instructions to the Stretch, was attached to it, and could not operate independently.
Seymour Aubrey Papert
On February 29, 1928 was born Seymour Aubrey Papert. He was a South African-born American mathematician, computer scientist, and educator, who spent most of his career teaching and researching at MIT. He was one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence, and of the constructionist movement in education. He was co-inventor, with Wally Feurzeig and Cynthia Solomon, of the Logo programming language.