Distinguished IS Educator Award

2015 Award Winner

Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.

Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.

EDSIG recognizes Dr. Brooks’ intellectual contributions to information systems education as teacher, author, inventor and manager. Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. has received the National Medal of Technology, the A.M. Turing award of the ACM, the Bower Award and Prize of the Franklin Institute, the John von Neumann Medal of the IEEE, and others. He is a member of the U.S. National Academies of Engineering and of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Academy of Engineering (U.K.) and of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Growing up in the Greenville, NC, region, he earned his AB in physics at Duke University in 1953. Dr. Brooks then joined the pioneering degree program in computer science at Harvard University, where he earned his SM in 1955 and his PhD in 1956.

After graduation, Dr. Brooks joined IBM as an architect of the IBM Stretch supercomputer, IBM's first transistorized computer. Stretch pioneered a number of concepts such as instruction look-ahead, overlapping and pipelining of instruction execution, error correction, and the 8-bit addressable character. Dr. Brooks and fellow engineer Dura Sweeney patented an interrupt system for the Stretch which has been widely copied as an essential mechanism in all contemporary computers. From 1961 to 1965, he was corporate project manager for the IBM System/360, the most important product in company history, managing in turn both the hardware and the software. At IBM, Dr. Brooks coined the term "computer architecture" to mean the structure and behavior of computer processors and associated devices, as separate from the details of any particular hardware implementation.

After the successful delivery of the System/360, Dr. Brooks was invited to the University of North Carolina, where he founded the University's computer science department in 1964. He chaired the department from 1964 to 1984, and has served to now as Kenan Professor of Computer Science. His principal research area, real-time three-dimensional graphics, provides virtual environments that let biochemists reason about the structure of complex molecules, and let architects walk through buildings under design. Dr. Brooks has also pioneered the use of haptic force feedback display to supplement visual graphics. He has written many books including The Mythical Man-Month (1975, 1995); Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution (with G.A. Blaauw, 1997); and The Design of Designˆ (2010).

Dr. Brooks married Nancy Lee Greenwood in 1956. They have three children and nine grandchildren. Brooks has been faculty advisor to a UNC chapter of Inter-Varsity ChristianFellowship and active in community Christian endeavors.