Biographies -- Saul Rosen
Original Publication Date: 1991-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Software Patent Institute
ERIC A. WEISS: AUTHOR [+2]
THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.
Copyright ©; 1991 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.
Biographies -- Saul Rosen
ERIC A. WEISS, EDITOR
Saul Rosen, computing pioneer, author, editor, teacher, and one of the earliest software designers, died of a heart attack at his home in West Lafayette, IN, on 9 June 1991. He was 69.
Born in Port Chester, NY, he graduated from the City College of New York in 1941 with a B.S. in mathematics. He received an M.S. in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati in 1942 and then served in the Army Signal Corps in Europe until 1946. After the war he attended the University of Pennsylvania where he earned his Ph.D. in mathematics in 1950; he continued at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, working on the successor machines to ENIAC. In 1954 he left Philadelphia and spent two years at Wayne (now Wayne State) University in Detroit. He returned to Philadelphia in the Fall of 1956 as manager of the Eastern Applied Mathematics Section of the ElectroData Division of Burroughs Corporation. The work of this section would now be called software support.
In 1947, he became involved in the activities of the fledgling Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), first on the languages committee that eventually led to ALGOL, and then as first Managing Editor of the Communications of the ACM.
In the Spring of 1958 he declined an offer from his employer, the ailing Burroughs Corporation, to move to California, and instead joined the Philadelphia based Philco Corporation to be Manager of Programming Systems at $18,000 per year. Philco was about to enter the general purpose scientific computer field with its as yet unbuilt Transistorized Automatic Computer, TRANSAC S-2000. In many ways it was considered at that time to be a modern version of the IAS computer. It was to be faster and more powerful than the IBM 704 or the IBM 709 and would have all the advantages that transistors gave over vacuum tubes.
Rosen had misgivings about Philco's ability to successfully attack IBM head-on, but felt that although the programming management task he himself had undertaken was extremely difficult, that he could handle it and handle it well. He later wrote (Rosen 1991) that he was probably quixotic; a word which he applied to the whole Philco computer effort.
Just before his death Rosen finished writing, from memory, a detailed account of his career at Philco, Philco: Some Recollections of the Philco TRANSAC S-2000, (Rosen 1991).
In it he summarized his two years at Philco in these words. "I had started from scratch and had built up a good programming systems department. We had designed and built and delivered software products, an assembler, a FORTRAN compiler, subroutine libraries, and service routines that were being used by ... customers on a daily basis...