|Richard Wesley Hamming|
A two-dimensional visualisation
of the Hamming distance
February 11, 1915|
|Died||January 7, 1998
|Institutions||University of Louisville
Bell Telephone Laboratories
Naval Postgraduate School
|Alma mater||University of Chicago
University of Nebraska
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
|Doctoral advisor||Waldemar Trjitzinsky|
|Known for||Hamming code
Association for Computing Machinery
|Influenced||David J. Farber|
|Notable awards||Turing Award (1968)|
Richard Wesley Hamming (February 11, 1915 – January 7, 1998) was an American mathematician whose work had many implications for computer science and telecommunications. His contributions include the Hamming code (which makes use of a Hamming matrix), the Hamming window (described in Section 5.8 of his book Digital Filters), Hamming numbers, sphere-packing (or hamming bound) and the Hamming distance.
He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1937, a master's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1939, and finally a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1942. He was a professor at the University of Louisville during World War II, and left to work on the Manhattan Project in 1945, programming one of the earliest electronic digital computers to calculate the solution to equations provided by the project's physicists. The objective of the program was to discover if the detonation of an atomic bomb would ignite the atmosphere. The result of the computation was that this would not occur, and so the United States used the bomb, first in a test in New Mexico, and then twice against Japan. Later, from 1946 to 1976, he worked at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he collaborated with Claude E. Shannon. During this period, he was an Adjunct Professor at the City College of New York, School of Engineering. On July 23, 1976 he moved to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he worked as an Adjunct Professor until 1997, when he became Professor Emeritus. He died a year later in 1998.
He was a founder and president of the Association for Computing Machinery. His philosophy on scientific computing appears as preface to his 1962 book on numerical methods: The purpose of computing is insight, not numbers.
Awards and professional recognition 
- Turing Award, Association for Computing Machinery, 1968.
- Fellow of the IEEE, 1968.
- IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award, 1979.
- Member of the National Academy of Engineering, 1980.
- Harold Pender Award, University of Pennsylvania, 1981.
- IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal, 1988.
- Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, 1994.
- Basic Research Award, Eduard Rhein Foundation, 1996.
- Certificate of Merit, Franklin Institute, 1996
The IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal, named after him, is an award given annually by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), for "exceptional contributions to information sciences, systems and technology", and he was the first recipient of this medal.
- Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers, McGraw-Hill, 1962; second edition 1973. Dover paperback reprint: Hamming, Richard W; Hamming, Richard Wesley (1986). Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers. ISBN 0-486-65241-6..
- Calculus and the Computer Revolution, Houghton-Mifflin, 1968.
- Introduction To Applied Numerical Analysis, McGraw-Hill, 1971.
- Computers and Society, McGraw-Hill, 1972.
- Digital Filters, Prentice Hall, 1977; second edition 1983; third edition 1989; Paperback reprint: Hamming, Richard Wesley (1998). Digital Filters (3rd ed.). Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-65088-X.
- Coding and Information Theory, Prentice Hall 1980; second edition 1986.
- Methods of Mathematics Applied to Calculus, Probability, and Statistics, Prentice Hall, 1985. Paperback reprint: Hamming, Richard Wesley (2004). Methods of Mathematics Applied to Calculus, Probability, and Statistics. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-486-43945-3.
- Unconventional introductory textbook which attempts to both teach calculus and give some idea of what it is good for at the same time. Might be of special interest to someone teaching an introductory calculus course using a conventional textbook, in order to pick up some new pedagogical viewpoints.
- The Art of Probability for Scientists and Engineers, Addison-Wesley, 1991; Paperback reprint: Hamming, Richard Wesley (1994). The Art of Probability for Scientists and Engineers. Westview Press. ISBN 0-201-40686-1.
- Hamming, Richard W; Hamming, Richard Wesley (1997). The Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn. Gordon and Breach. ISBN 90-5699-501-4.
- Entertaining and instructive. Hamming tries to extract general lessons—both personal and technical – to aid one in having a successful technical career by telling stories from his own experiences.
- (Some of this material relating to the self-management of one's technical career can be found online in You and Your Research, (Hamming 1986).)
- One of Hamming's lessons is never trust without question someone who claims to be giving you highly accurate data to analyze – not because they're deliberately lying to you but because the data is never as accurate as people think.
- Hamming discusses the use and potential of computers in the 1965 film Logic By Machine.
- Hamming, Richard (1965). "Logic By Machine"
- Hamming, Richard (1980). "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics". The American Mathematical Monthly 87 (2): 81–90. doi:10.2307/2321982. JSTOR 2321982
- Hamming, Richard (1986). "You and Your Research"
- Hamming, Richard (Aug - Sep 1998). "Mathematics on a Distant Planet". The American Mathematical Monthly 105 (7): 640–650.
- "A. M. Turing Award". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "IEEE Emanuel R. Piore Award Recipients". IEEE. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "NAE Members Directory - Dr. Richard W. Hamming". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "The Harold Pender Award". School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal Recipients". IEEE. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "ACM Fellows - H". Association for Computing Machinery. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "Award Winners (chronological)". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal". IEEE. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Richard Hamming|
- O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Richard Hamming", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews.
- Richard Hamming at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
- "Richard Hamming." FOLDOC
- New York Times obituary