1979 interview with Louis 'Synnoetics' Fein

conservancy.umn.edu/handle/112

<<FEIN: In 1954 and 1955, I was in southern California installing and operating at the Naval Air Missile Test Center at Point Magu the RADAC, the Raytheon digital automatic computer which I had built as chief engineer at Raytheon Manufacturing Company between 1948 and 1951... came west to install and operate the RADAC, and it was in fact the first computing center on the west coast. I came out in... January 1954.>>

<< the people in the east had developed some modules, computer modules, which we called T packs, which were, as far as I know, also the first components, single components out of which you could build computers; it was sort of a tinker toy notion, and we built the very first I believe - modules. There were only two kinds, one a power supply module, and the other a logic module which could also be used as a memory -- a one
bit circulating memory at one mega cycle rate.>>

<<One of my friends introduced me to Al Bowker who .. was the
Provost at Stanford.. Al was interested in the proposals that IBM was making people of the following type: "We will give you a 650 for free if you will give a course in scientific computing and one in business computing."... so Al Bowker commissioned me to make a study on what might be called "The Role of the University in Computers and Data Processing." >>

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<<The title of that report was "The study and evaluation of the status of university programs in the United States in computers, and data processing related fields including recommendation to Stanford University on its potential role in these field.">>

<< There was a very, very strong opposition in the mathematics department .. Dave Gilbarg.. thought computing was like plumbing. We don't have plumbers studying within the university and what does computing have to do with intellect? >>

<<So the opposition came from
insiders not outsiders, who didn't understand that mathematics is a supra-discipline... I talked a lot with Al (Bowker) .. Al had started the statistics department at Stanford and statistics had the same kind of history of resistance by academics and mathematics departments for introducinga pedestrian study like statistics, which is like plumbing, into the university. >>

@natecull

wait the fuck on

why the hell ISN'T plumbing studied in universities

it's applied fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and materials engineering all in one

@sydneyfalk whoever invented the self-cleaning vortex toilet bowl was a GENIUS

@apexys @natecull

maybe the fact plumbers are doing applied small scale civil engineering goes unrealized more often than not, tho

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