User:Normxxx/biography

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I was vying for the title of GOM (Grand Old Man) of hard real-time (embedded) software (I have an IBM Engineering School diploma dated March, 1955 and signed by Thomas J. Watson, senior and junior), but I have recently retired.

I was born. I had a happy but boring childhood. (No TV, few toys, movies once a week, but lots of radio and books!) Elementary school was especially boring; I counted the years until 'graduation.' Attended C.C.N.Y. while working for IBM. Earned a B.S.E.E.

In the latter 1950s, I worked on analog computer and hybrid computer aircraft flight simulators and radar systems, where I acquired a lifelong love affair with systems/software/hardware fault tolerance and hard real-time (embedded computer) systems. It was about this time that (hybrid) computer engineers decided that computers were becoming too "intelligent" to fix by traditional means; so we drew straws, and I drew the short straw.

I returned to school for a degree in Psychology(!) In the 1960s, I worked on the MERIT local area network and on the Medical Education and Diagnostic Information Complex (MEDIC) at the University of Michigan, where I also managed to add a M.A. in Mathematics while earning a Ph.D. in Mathematical Psychology. This was also where I switched from hardware to software (and wetware). I realized that all of my electronic engineering skill was now obsolete, so I chose the one field where no prior skills were necessary— software.

In the 1970s, I worked for Lincoln Laboratory on the Safeguard II anti-ballistic missile system, and did most of the software for a six computer heterogeneous network installed at Kwajalein, Marshall Islands. I spent 3 years at Kwajalein, a tropical paradise in the mid Pacific. This was rated a "hardship" assignment.

Later, I worked on NASA's Space Shuttle (at Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake City, Houston, Texas) and on a huge (black) Wide Area/Local Area Network for the intelligence community (NSA).

In the early 1980s, I worked on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope HSTOCC and STSI in Maryland, US. (See also HST history.) I later worked for Martin Marietta Corporation from 1985 until 1990 (as subcontractor to the Federal Aviation Administration— FAA). In 1990 I joined the FAA as a chief scientist.

I worked as a chief systems architect on the FAA's new Advanced Automation System and, later, on a similar program for the DoD (while still at FAA). I was a member (and Chief Architect) of the systems architecture, systems engineering, software engineering, and metrics teams.

I was a member of the Systems Engineering Specialties Group (SESG) and the Systems Engineering Process Group (SEPG) at the FAA from their beginnings. The SESG was charged with the responsibility for improving the FAA's sytems and software engineering processes and practices (as far back as 1991), especially with regard to acquisition and maintenance.

I participated in (and led) most of the Systems Capability Evaluations performed at the FAA in the '90s, and was also editor (and resident curmudgeon) of the FAA SEPG Interface newsletter. I retired in February, 2003.

Politically, I am left of center on social issues and right of center on monetary and fiscal issues.

I reside in Maryland, U.S., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

I've accomplished more in my life than I thought I would.

I spend my time dining with friends; going to movies; listening to music; reading (especially about the latest scientific developments); being with family; surfing the Internet; dabbling in the stock market.

My main source of current events is the Newspaper.

My friends describe me as cheerful and easygoing.

My favorite type of movie: Action/Adventure; Animation/Cartoons; Comedy; Musicals; Mystery; Science fiction