Gerald Estrin

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Gerald Estrin
Thelma and gerald estrin.jpg
Gerald Estrin with his wife Thelma. Santa Monica, California. Sept. 2007
Born September 9, 1921
New York City, United States
Died March 29, 2012(2012-03-29) (aged 90)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Fields Computer Science
Institutions IAS (1950-1956), WIS (1954-1955), UCLA (1956-1991)
Doctoral students Jean-Loup Baer
Vint Cerf
Mary K. Vernon
Johanna Moore

Gerald Estrin (September 9, 1921 – March 29, 2012)[1] was an American computer scientist, and Professor at the UCLA Computer Science Department. He is known for his work on the organization of computer systems, on parallel processing[2] and SARA (system architects apprentice).[3]

Life and work[edit]

Estrin received his B.S, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin in 1948, 1949, and 1951, respectively.

Estrin served as research engineer in the von Neumann group at IAS from 1950–56, this led to an invitation from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel to direct the WEIZAC Project in 1954-5.

In the late 1950s Estrin came up with the concept of reconfigurable computing, which allows the acceleration of computational processes by using variable configurations of specialised hardware modules in addition to a sequential processing unit. The idea was practically realised as "The Fixed Plus Variable Structure Computer".[4]

He served as Chairperson of the UCLA Computer Science Department from 1979 to 1982 and from 1985 to 1988. He retired in 1991, and was recalled as Professor Emeritus.[5]

Estrin was IEEE Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a member of the Board of Governors of the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel.


Estrin was survived by his wife, Thelma, and their three daughters Margo, who is a doctor, Judy and Deborah.[6]

See also[edit]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Estrin, Gerald. "Organization of computer systems: the fixed plus variable structure computer." Papers presented at the May 3-5, 1960, western joint IRE-AIEE-ACM computer conference. ACM, 1960.
  • Estrin, Gerald, et al. "Parallel processing in a restructurable computer system." Electronic Computers, IEEE Transactions on 6 (1963): 747-755.
  • Estrin, Gerald, et al. "SARA (system architects apprentice): modeling, analysis, and simulation support for design of concurrent systems." Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on 2 (1986): 293-311.


  1. ^ Gerald Estrin's profile at the IEEE Global History Network
  2. ^ Athanas, Peter M., and Harvey F. Silverman. "Processor reconfiguration through instruction-set metamorphosis." Computer 26.3 (1993): 11-18.
  3. ^ Perry, Dewayne E., and Alexander L. Wolf. "Foundations for the study of software architecture." ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes 17.4 (1992): 40-52.
  4. ^ Organization of computer systems: the fixed plus variable structure computer
  5. ^ UCLA Computer Science Department People
  6. ^