The 21 IBM Fellows Who Helped Build The IBM i Server
April 8, 2013 Alex Woodie
IBM celebrates two major milestones this spring: the 25th anniversary of the launch of the AS/400, as well as the 50th anniversary of the IBM Fellows program. With help from IBM, we filled in the areas where these two programs overlap, and identified a list of the 21 Fellows who applied their brilliant brains to developing some aspect of the AS/400 or its successors and related technologies.
IBM launched its Fellows program in 1963. The idea behind the program, as envisioned by CEO Thomas Watson Jr., was to give accomplished scientists, engineers, programmers, and architects the freedom to explore their areas of specialization, in the hopes that it would advance technology and, ultimately, IBM profits.
Over 50 years of the Fellows program, the honor has been bestowed on just 246 employees, who are responsible for almost 7,500 patents for products and innovations ranging from the IBM Selectric typewriter and the Watson supercomputer to early multi-task operating systems and everybody’s favorite programming language, Fortran.
Last week, IBM named eight new Fellows, who collectively have 154 years of experience at IBM, and hold 225 patents and five PhDs. This year’s crop of Fellows will have a new job–serving as technological ambassador to a growth country, such as Brazil–where they will work with universities and research institutions, and mentor local employees.
Say, Fellow, Can You Spare an i?
The 25th anniversary of the AS/400’s launch doesn’t officially occur until June. But the celebration is already in full swing this week at the COMMON conference down in Austin, Texas, where IBM is planning many events to celebrate the 25th birthday.
With help from IBM i-ers like chief architect Steve Will, product manager Allison Butterill, and others, IT Jungle was able to compile this list of Fellows who contributed to the development of the AS/400 and its successors, the iSeries, System i, and Power Systems server, and related core technologies, in one way or another. Here’s the list, including the year that the Fellow was named a Fellow.
There are, of course, many others who contributed to systems design who did not become IBM Fellows. It takes a team of experts and technicians to bring something so complex as a system into being.