Phyllis Fox

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Phyllis Ann Fox
Born 1923
Citizenship American
Alma mater Wellesley College
University of Colorado
Known for DYNAMO (programming language)
PORT Mathematical Subroutine Library
Scientific career
Institutions General Electric
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences
Newark College of Engineering
Bell Labs
Thesis On the use of coordinate perturbations in the solution of physical problems (1954)
Doctoral advisor Chia-Chiao Lin

Phyllis Ann Fox is an American mathematician and computer scientist.[1][2]

Fox was raised in Colorado.[2] She did her undergraduate studies at Wellesley College, earning a B.A. in mathematics in 1944. From 1944 until 1946 she worked for General Electric as an operator for their differential analyser project. She earned a second baccalaureate, a B.S. in electrical engineering, from the University of Colorado in 1948.[1][2] She then moved on to graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning an M.S. in 1949 in electrical engineering, and a doctorate (Sc.D.) in mathematics in 1954 under the supervision of Chia-Chiao Lin.[1][2][3] During this time, she also worked as an assistant on the Whirlwind project at MIT, under Jay Forrester.[1]

From 1954 to 1958, Fox worked on the numerical solution of partial differential equations on the Univac, for the Computing Center of the United States Atomic Energy Commission at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University. In 1958, following her husband, she returned to Forester's system dynamics research group at MIT, where she became part of the team that wrote the DYNAMO programming language.[1][2][4] She then became a collaborator on the first LISP interpreter, and the principal author of the first LISP manual.[5]

In 1963, she moved from MIT to the Newark College of Engineering, where she became a full professor in 1972. During this time, she also consulted for Bell Labs, where she moved in 1973 to work on a highly portable numerics library (PORT). She retired from Bell Labs in 1984.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Resume and brief autobiography for Phyllis Fox, for Wellesley College Class of 1944 Record Book, Jan 1974, SIAM history website [1].
  2. ^ a b c d e f Haigh, Thomas (interviewer) (2005). "Phyllis Fox" (PDF). The History of Numerical Analysis and Scientific Computing - Oral Histories. SIAM. Retrieved 12 May 2010.  l first = Nancy l last = Rosenberg
  3. ^ Phyllis Ann Fox at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  4. ^ "Origin of System Dynamics", [2] Access date 11 May 2010
  5. ^ McCarthy, J.; Brayton, R.; Edwards, D.; Fox, P.; Hodes, L.; Luckham, D.; Maling, K.; Park, D.; Russell, S. (March 1960). "LISP I Programmer's Manual" (PDF). Boston, Massachusetts: Artificial Intelligence Group, M.I.T. Computation Center and Research Laboratory{{inconsistent citations}}  Accessed May 11, 2010.