Harry Huskey

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Harry Douglas Huskey
Harry&Nancy JDuncan.jpg
Harry Huskey and late wife Nancy at the Sunshine Villa Winter Ball in Santa Cruz, CA Dec. 8, 2011
Born (1916-01-19) January 19, 1916 (age 101)
Smoky Mountains, North Carolina
Fields Mathematics
Institutions University of California
University of Pennsylvania
Alma mater Ohio State University (Master & PhD)
University of Idaho (Bachelor)
Thesis Contributions to the Problem of Geocze (1943)
Doctoral students Butler Lampson
Niklaus Wirth
Notable awards ACM Fellow (1994)
Computer History Museum Fellow (2013)[1]
Spouse Velma Roeth (died 1991); Nancy Grindstaff (married 1994, died 2015)

Harry Douglas Huskey (born January 19, 1916) is an American computer designer pioneer. Huskey was born in the Smoky Mountains region of North Carolina and grew up in Idaho. He received his Bachelor's degree at the University of Idaho. He gained his Master's and then his PhD in 1943 from the Ohio State University on Contributions to the Problem of Geocze. Huskey taught mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania and then worked part-time on the early ENIAC computer in 1945.

He visited the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the United Kingdom for a year and worked on the Pilot ACE computer with Alan Turing and others. He was also involved with the EDVAC and SEAC computer projects.

Huskey designed and managed the construction of the Standards Western Automatic Computer (SWAC) at the National Bureau of Standards in Los Angeles (1949–1953). He also designed the G15 computer for Bendix Aviation Corporation, which could perhaps be considered as the first "personal" computer in the world.[2] He had one at his home that is now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

After five years at the National Bureau of Standards, Huskey joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley in 1954 and then University of California, Santa Cruz from 1966. While at Berkeley, he supervised the research of pioneering programming language designer Niklaus Wirth, who gained his PhD in 1963. During 1963-1964 Prof. Huskey participated in establishing the Computer Center at IIT Kanpur and convened a meeting there with many pioneers of computing technology.[3] Participants included Forman Acton of Princeton University, Robert Archer of Case Institute of Technology, S. Barton of CDC, Australia, S. Beltran from the Centro de Calculo[4] in Mexico City, John Makepeace Bennett of the University of Sydney, Launor Carter of SDC - author of the subsequent Carter Report on Computer Technology for Schools,[5] David Evans of UC Berkeley, Bruce Gilchrist of IBM-SBC, Clay Perry of UC San Diego, Sigeiti Moriguti of the University of Tokyo, Adriaan van Wijngaarden of the Mathematisch Centrum in Amsterdam, Maurice Wilkes of Cambridge University, and Gio Wiederhold, also of UC Berkeley.

Prof. Huskey is now Professor Emeritus at the University of California, after his retirement at the age of 70 in 1986. In 1994 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery.

Personal life[edit]

Harry Huskey (left) at an outing to temples in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Huskey married Velma Roeth (died 1991) and had four children. In 1994, he married Nancy Grindstaff (died in 2016). He lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Huskey appeared with a junk dealer as the third pair of contestants in the 10 May 1950 episode of Groucho Marx's radio show You Bet Your Life. He was described as the designer of an "electronic brain". They selected the "state category" and missed the final question when they failed to identify Iowa as the state North of Missouri.[6]

Selected works[edit]


In 2013, the Computer History Museum named him a Museum Fellow "for his seminal work on early and important computing systems and a lifetime of service to computer education."[7]


  1. ^ Harry D. Huskey 2013 Fellow
  2. ^ "G-15 and Harry Huskey at the SWAC". Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  3. ^ "IIT CS". Retrieved 2012-02-08. 
  4. ^ http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0015/001564/156454eb.pdf
  5. ^ Launor Carter: Educational technology--computer-related and people-related, SDC Corporation, January 1, 1969
  6. ^ "You Bet Your Life | Old Time Radio". Retrieved Dec 31, 2013. 
  7. ^ CHM. "Harry D. Huskey — CHM Fellow Award Winner". Retrieved March 30, 2015. [1]

External links[edit]