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Biograhies: OBITUARIES -- Saul Gorn Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129761D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 19K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

IEEE Computer Society: OWNER


Biograhies: OBITUARIES -- Saul Gorn

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Copyright ©; 1992 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Biograhies: OBITUARIES -- Saul Gorn

Saul Gorn, educator, mathematician, computing pioneer, philosopher of computer development, and central figure in the philosophy of computer language design, died at his home in Philadelphia on February 22, 1992, after a long illness. He was 79.

Gorn was born November 10, 1912, in Boston. His family moved to New York City where his father was an editor of the Jewish Daily Forward and where Gorn attended a high school of science. He graduated cum laude in mathematics from Columbia College in 1931 and into the depth of the depression. An exchange fellowship allowed him to study newer areas of geometry at the Institute of International Education at the University of Bordeaux, from which he received the Diploma of Higher Studies in Mathematics in 1932, returning to the US with hundreds of mathematics books in French, purchased by skimping on his living expenses. He was a reader and instructor at Columbia until 1938 and then taught as an instructor in the evening session at Brooklyn College until 1942. In that year he received his PhD from Columbia and entered the Army as a private in the Air Force. His first duty was teaching illiterate recruits to read. His mathematics doctorate led to a commission as a first lieutenant in Wright Field's radar laboratory in Dayton, Ohio. At that time he married short story writer and novelist Frances Schlesinger.

He participated in the Army's computational development at Wright Field, first as an officer and then, following the war, from l946 to 195l, as a civilian staff mathematician in the Aircraft Radiation Laboratory. He then served as mathematics adviser for the Computing Laboratory at the Ballistic Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, which had just received from the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania the first and only ENIAC and EDVAC computers. Here he developed computer procedures for calculating firing tables and methods of automatic error control, and made the first experiments in devising universal coding systems that could be used for more than one variety of computer.

In 1955 he joined the faculty at the Moore School as an associate professor. In 1957 he became the first director of the University of Pennsylvania Computer Center, which used a very early UNIVAC I. In 1960 he was named director of the Office of Computer Research and Education. a post which he held for one year before returning to full- time teaching and research at the Moore School. In 1964 he became professor of computer and information science.

While he was chair of the university's Graduate Group in Computer and Information Science, the university, under his guidance, granted the first PhD in computer science ever given anywhere (to Richard L. Wexelblat). In the decad...