Forman S. Acton

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Forman S. Acton
Born 1920
Died February 18, 2014
Nationality American
Fields Computer Science
Institutions Princeton University

Forman S. Acton (born 1920 - February 18, 2014) was an American computer scientist and author. He was an emeritus professor in the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University.


Acton obtained a degree in chemical engineering at Princeton in 1944. He then worked for the U.S. Army at Oak Ridge for the remainder of World War II. He earned a PhD in Applied Mathematics at the Carnegie Institute of Technology.


Acton spent three years at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards' Institute for Numerical Analysis at the University of California at Los Angeles. In 1952 he returned to Princeton to teach in the Mathematics Department. Four years later he joined the Princeton Electrical Engineering department. In 1985 he transferred to the newly created Computer Science department; from 1989 to his death he was Professor Emeritus of Computer Science.

Throughout his career, Acton worked with many notable computer scientists and engineers, including John von Neumann, John Tukey, and John Mauchly.

Forman Acton was director of the Analytical Research Group, based in the department of Statistics, from 1952 to 1956.[1]

Forman spent 1964 to 1966 teaching at the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, sponsored by USAID.[2] During that period he also worked on and tested his manuscript on Numerical Methods That Usually Work (the italicized word is only embossed on the cover of the book).


Acton is known for his 1970 book Numerical Methods That Work, [3] which was reissued in 1997 by the Mathematical Association of America. More recently, he published Real Computing Made Real: Preventing Errors in Scientific and Engineering Calculations. [4]


  1. ^ Leitch, Alexander (1978) A Princeton Companion, Princeton University Press.
  2. ^ E.C. Subbarao (2008): An Eye for Excellence, Harper-Collins India.
  3. ^ Acton FS (1970). Numerical Methods That Work. Harper & Row. 
  4. ^ Acton FS (1997). Real Computing Made Real: Preventing Errors in Scientific and Engineering Calculations. Dover. 

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