Louis Gerstman

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Louis "Lou" Gerstman (April 22, 1930 - March 17, 1992) was an American neuropsychologist best known for his work in speech synthesis.[1] He was a co-inventor, along with John Kelly, of the computer portrayed as HAL 9000 in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.[1] He also worked with Irv Teibel on Teibel's psychoacoustic environments recording series at Bell Labs, where Gerstman was working at the time.[2]

Early life[edit]

On April 22, 1930, Gerstman was born in Buffalo, New York.


Gerstman attended the University of Buffalo, Harvard University, and New York University.


In 1950s and early 1960s, Gerstman was a researcher and consultant for Western Electric, Bell Labs, Haskins Laboratories, and Columbia University during which he worked on computer speech processing to aide stroke recovery and learning disabilities.[1] In 1966, he began teaching at City University in New York City and he became a professor at City College in 1969. At the latter, he specialized in speech processes and disorders and oversaw doctoral programs in experimental cognition.[1]

Gerstman was also an expert in "voiceprint" spectrograms and testified as an expert witness in the 1973 bribery trial of New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison.[1] In 1961, he helped create the first computer program for speech synthesis while working with IBM.[3] The program was intended to be used in Kubrick's 2001, but the two parties eventually parted ways and the film crew employed an actor to read the lines.

Personal life[edit]

In March 1992, Gerstman died of lung cancer. Gerstman was 61.[1]


  • Music From Mathematics (Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 1960)[4]
  • Synthesized Speech (Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc., 1962)[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Lambert, Bruce. "Louis Gerstman, 61, a Specialist In Speech Disorders and Processes". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  2. ^ "'Enjoyale' Backgrounds Expanding Odd Catalog" (PDF). Billboard. March 22, 1975. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  3. ^ Schroeder, Manfred R. (17 April 2013). Computer Speech: Recognition, Compression, Synthesis. Springer Science & Business Media. p. XVI. ISBN 9783662063842. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Music From Mathematics". Discogs. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Synthesized Speech". Discogs. Retrieved 6 November 2015.