Gordon Bell

Portrait of Gordon Bell
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When I first came to DEC…I loved immediately what I saw…there weren’t that many engineers…and one or two engineers could actually go and design a computer! Gordon Bell

Born: August 19, 1934, Kirksville, Missouri

Gordon Bell first visited DEC to purchase modules for a tape controller he was developing for the TX-0 at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Eager to work for a company where he could design computer systems, Bell joined DEC in 1960. His first project was to develop the multiplier/divider unit and interrupt system for the PDP-1.

Bell stayed on at DEC (1961-1966, 1972-1983) and architected various mini- and time-sharing computers, including the PDP-6. He also led the development of DEC’s VAX Computing Environment, one of the most successful family of computers of all time.

In addition to his work at DEC, Bell’s prodigious accomplishments include the architecting of machines at Encore, Ardent and Stardent; teaching computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (1966-78); writing books on computer design and entrepreneurship; and founding the National Science Foundation’s computing directorate.

In 1979, Bell also co-founded (with Gwen Bell), The Computer Museum in Boston, the kernel from which The Computer History Museum has grown. Today, he is a researcher at Microsoft.

Bell holds B.S. (1956) and M.S. (1957) degrees in electrical engineering from MIT.

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