James H. Pomerene

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James Herbert Pomerene
Born (1920-06-22)June 22, 1920
Yonkers, New York
Died December 7, 2008(2008-12-07) (aged 88)
Chappaqua, New York
Occupation Electrical Engineer
Employer Institute for Advanced Study, IBM
Known for Computer design
Awards Computer Pioneer Award (1986)

James Herbert Pomerene (June 22, 1920 – December 7, 2008) was an electrical engineer and computer pioneer.


Pomerene was born June 22, 1920 in Yonkers, New York. His father was Joel Pomerene and mother was Elsie Bower

He received the BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1942. In 1945 he married Edythe Schwenn and had three children.[1]

In 1946, he joined the Electronic Computer Project at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, New Jersey under the leadership of John von Neumann. The project built a parallel stored program computer called the IAS machine that was the prototype for a number of machines such as the MANIAC I, ORACLE, and ILLIAC series. Pomerene designed and implemented the adder portion of the arithmetic unit.[2]

Collaborating with engineers such as Bruce Gilchrist and Y.K. Wong, they invented a fast adder which incorporated a speed up technique for asynchronous adders reducing the time for additive carry-overs to propagate. This design was actually later incorporated in one commercial computer, the Philco TRANSAC S-2000, introduced in 1957, the first commercial transistorized computer.[2]

Pomerene became chief engineer on the IAS computer project from 1951 to 1956.[1][2]

In Summer 1956, Pomerene joined the IBM Corporation in Poughkeepsie, where he and several others started the development of various electronic computer systems such as the IBM 7030 and Harvest computers.[3] He was appointed an IBM Fellow in 1976. He held 37 patents when he retired from IBM in 1993.

Pomerene was a Life Fellow of the IEEE[4] and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received the IEEE Edison Medal in 1993, and the Eckert-Mauchly Award in 2006.[5]

He died December 7, 2008 in Chappaqua, New York.[1]

Selected papers[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Pomerene, James Herbert". New York Times. December 9, 2008. Retrieved May 31, 2010. James Her bert, 88, of Chappaqua, a Computer Pioneer died on December 7, 2008. He was born in Yonkers, New York on June 22, 1920 to Joel Pomerene and Elsie Bower. ... 
  2. ^ a b c Gilchrist, Bruce, "Remembering Some Early Computers, 1948-1960", Columbia University EPIC, 2006, pp.7-9.
  3. ^ "Timeline of the Stretch/Harvest Era". Computer History Museum (1956-1961). Retrieved May 31, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Fellows - P". IEEE Fellows. IEEE. Retrieved 2010-01-23. James H. Pomerene (Life Fellow) 1971: for contributions to the design and development of computing systems 
  5. ^ Norm Jouppi (June 2006). "SIGARCH Annual Report". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]