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Communications of the ACM


An Interview with Fred Brooks

Fred Brooks

Fred Brooks with a statue created in his honor at the University of North Carolina Department of Computer Science.

Credit: Dan Sears / University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

ACM fellow Frederick ("Fred") Brooks, recipient of the 1999 A.M. Turing Award, has made landmark contributions to computer architecture, operating systems, and software engineering. After earning a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science from Harvard under the legendary Howard Aiken, he worked for IBM on several landmark computer systems, most notably the System/360 series that came to dominate mainframe computing for decades. He left IBM in 1964 to found the Computer Science Department at the University of North Carolina, from which he retired at the end of the Spring 2015 semester.

Noted software architect Grady Booch conducted an oral interview of Brooks in Cambridge, U.K., in September 2007. The complete transcripta of this interview is available in the Computer History Museum's oral history archive; presented here is a condensed and highly edited version designed to whet your appetite.
Len Shustek


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