Willem van der Poel
|Willem Louis van der Poel|
|Born||2 December 1926
|Institutions||Delft University of Technology|
|Alma mater||Delft University of Technology, University of Amsterdam|
|Known for||Designing the ZEBRA computer|
Willem Louis van der Poel (2 December 1926, The Hague) is a pioneering Dutch computer scientist, who is known for designing the ZEBRA computer. In 1950 he obtained an engineering degree in applied science at Delft University of Technology. In 1956 he obtained his PhD degree from the University of Amsterdam. The title of his PhD thesis was The Logical Principles of Some Simple Computers. From 1950 until 1967 he worked for the Dutch PTT, and from 1962 till 1988 was (part time) professor at Delft University of Technology. He was also the first chairman of IFIP Working Group 2.1 on ALGOL, from 1962 to 1968.
Van der Poel is primarily known as a Dutch computer pioneer, designer of Testudo, the PTERA, the ZERO, and the ZEBRA computer. He also contributed to Algol 68 and LISP for the ZEBRA. He is said to be the originator of the Zero One Infinity rule, which suggests that software designs should not impose arbitrary limits on the number of instances of a particular entity: if more than a single instance of it is to be allowed, then the collection size should be without fixed limit.
Since 1971 he is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 1960 he received, together with H. Mol, the Visser-Neerlandia prize for the construction of a Braille translator.
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