George Forsythe

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For other people named George Forsyth, see George Forsyth (disambiguation).
George Elmer Forsythe
Born January 8, 1917
Died April 9, 1972
Fields Mathematics, meteorology and computer science
Institutions Stanford University
Boeing
National Bureau of Standards
Alma mater Swarthmore College
Brown University
Doctoral advisor William Feller
Jacob Tamarkin
Doctoral students Richard Brent
J. Alan George
Cleve Moler
James Ortega
Beresford Parlett

George Elmer Forsythe (January 8, 1917 – April 9, 1972[1]) was the founder and head of Stanford University's Computer Science Department.[1] George came to Stanford in the Mathematics Department in 1959, and served as professor and chairman of the Computer Science department from 1965 until his death.[2] Forsythe served as the president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and also co-authored four books on computer science and a fifth on meteorology, and edited more than 75 other books on computer science.

His wife, Alexandra I. Forsythe, taught and published in Computer Science as well [3] and actively participated in her husband's work, while promoting a more active role for women than was common at the time.[4] Between 1950 and 1958 both of them programmed using the SWAC at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in Los Angeles and later at UCLA after the western division of NBS was closed due to political pressures (see Oral History cited below).

According to Donald Knuth, Forsythe's greatest contributions were helping to establish computer science as its own academic discipline and starting the field of refereeing and editing algorithms as scholarly work.[5] Professor Forsythe supervised 17 PhD graduates; many of them went into academic careers.[6]

Books by Forsythe[edit]

  • Dynamic Meteorology (with William Gustin and Jörgen Holmboy), John Wiley & Sons, New York, 1945, 375pp.
  • Bibliography of Russian Mathematics Books, Chelsea, New York, 1956, 106 pp.
  • Finite Difference Methods for Partial Differential Equations (with Wolfgang Wasow), John Wiley, New York, 1966, 444pp.
  • Computer Solution of Linear Algebraic Systems (with Cleve B. Moler), Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1967, 153 pp.
  • Computer methods for mathematical computations (with Michael A. Malcolm and Cleve B. Moler), Prentice-Hall Series in Automatic Computation, Prentice-Hall., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1977. MR 0458783 ISBN 0-13-165332-6 This book about numerical methods was partly finished when Forsythe died.

Knuth's 1972 CACM article[5] lists all of Forsythe's published works.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b http://icme.stanford.edu/system/files/file-insertions/ForsytheG.pdf
  2. ^ SIAM: Remembering George Forsythe
  3. ^ Alexandra I. Forsythe: Computer Science, a First Course; Wiley 1975.
  4. ^ Jane D. Fairbanks and Helen L. Bryson: Second Careers for Women; Stanford University, 1975.
  5. ^ a b Knuth, Donald E. (1972). "George Forsythe and the Development of Computer Science". Communications of the ACM 15 (8): 721–726. doi:10.1145/361532.361538. 
  6. ^ http://infolab.stanford.edu/pub/voy/museum/forsythetree.html

External links[edit]