Many of the features we take for
granted in personal computers- their use
for word processing, the capacity to call up
one of hundreds of programs in a fraction
of a second, the capacity to load a software
package on any number of different com-
puters-are all traceable to the work of
Brooks and to his sense of connection.
(At the time I went
to graduate school)
there were no
Cooking at me Cafe is designed
co capture the vitality of
Italy and the Mediterranean with a
contemporary and imaginative twise.
Fresh seasonal pasta,
wood burning pizza oven, dessert and
cappuccino bar and much more.
Dinner seven nights a week
411 West Franklin St., Chapel Hill
JANE KENAN ' 75, REALTOR®
24-year Triangle resident
... AND JASMINE
(888) 295- 2345
(919) 876-7411 ext. 164
To grasp Brooks' role in the develop-
ment ofcomputers, it helps to understand
how new computer technology was when
his career began.
He still remembers the day-in
August 1944 - he learned what a com-
"I was 13 years old and growing up in
Greenville, North Carolina. I was sitting in
the Sheppard Memorial Library and read-
ing, I believe, Time."
He was reading about the dedication
of the Mark I- the first "universal calcu-
lator," a machine that could perform
mathematical computation without a
"It was a whole new concept to me,
and absolutely fascinating."
He had always wanted to be a scientist,
and when the teenage Brooks went to
Duke he studied physics, which had been
his favorite high school subject.
But he never forgot his fascination
with the Mark 1. When it came time to
pursue graduate work, he went to Harvard
to study with the man who designed it,
"Aiken had in the computation labora-
tory at Harvard one ofthe handful ofpro-
grams in what we would today call com-
puter science," Brooks said. "There it was
called applied mathematics, but it was indis-
tinguishable from today's computer science.
"At the time I went to graduate
school," Brooks added, "there were no
COLTlputer science departments."
Brooks' work at Harvard was a fitting
prelude to his later work ushering in the
age of the general use computer.
Aiken wanted his students to do dis-
sertation research on the non-scientific
uses of computers. He encouraged Brooks
to design a computer that could do pay-
rolls. "So I designed a payroll computer,"
he says matter-of-facdy,"and concluded
that there was very litde to gain from spe-
cializing a computer for payroll.
J a 11 1/ ar y/ FebrI' ar y 2001