Samuel H. Caldwell

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Samuel Hawks Caldwell (January 15, 1904 – October 12, 1960) was an American electrical engineer, known for his contributions to the early computers.[1]


He completed all his degrees in electrical engineering at MIT. His M.Sc. thesis was entitled Electrical characteristics and theory of operation of a dry electrolytic rectifier (1926). In his doctoral studies he worked on analog computers with Vannevar Bush, developing the Differential Analyzer. His Sc.D., advised by Bush, was entitled The Extension and Application of Differential Analyzer Technique in the Solution of Ordinary Differential Equations (1933).[2] He then joined the faculty of the electrical engineering department. During World War II he was on the National Defense Research Committee. After the war, he led the MIT Center of Analysis, where he reluctantly gave way to digital computing by initiating the Rockefeller Electronic Computer (RED) and supporting the Project Whirlwind.[3] The centre closed around 1950, after which Caldwell continued as a faculty member, being the advisor to both David A. Huffman (1953) and Edward J. McCluskey (1956).


  • William H. Timbie and Henry Harold Higbie and Caldwell, Essentials of alternating currents, Wiley, 1939
  • Electrical Engineering Research at M.I.T. : an appreciation MIT, 1948
  • Analog and special purpose computing machines 1949
  • Switching circuits and logical design, Wiley, 1958.


  1. ^ biography from
  2. ^ Samuel Hawks Caldwell at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ William Aspray, Was early entry a competitive advantage? in IEEE Annals of the history of computing, 2000