Joseph Thomas West
November 22, 1939
|Died||May 19, 2011(aged 71)|
|Alma mater||Amherst College, B.A. 1962|
Joseph Thomas West III (November 22, 1939 – May 19, 2011) was an American technologist. West is notable for being the key figure in the Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction book The Soul of a New Machine.
West began his career in computer design at RCA, after seven years at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, a job he'd gotten right out of college. He started working for Data General in 1974. He became the head of Data General's Eclipse group and then became the lead on the Eagle project, building a machine officially named the Eclipse MV/8000. After the publication of Soul of a New Machine, West was sent to Japan by Data General where he helped design DG-1, the first full-screen laptop. His last project in 1996, a thin Web server, was intended to be an internet-ready machine. West retired as Chief Technologist in 1998.
West was married to Elizabeth West in 1965; they divorced in 1994. The couple had two daughters, Katherine West and librarian Jessamyn West. West married Cindy Woodward (his former assistant at Data General) in 2001; the couple divorced in 2011. West died at the age of 71 in his Westport, Massachusetts home of an apparent heart attack. His nephew, Christopher Schwarz, is a former editor of Popular Woodworking magazine, author of The Anarchist's Toolchest, and co-founder of Lost Art Press; West's death prompted Schwarz to "leave the magazine and do my own thing".
- "J. Thomas West 71, of Westport". eastbayri.com. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- Kidder, Tracy (1981) . The Soul of a New Machine. Modern Library. ISBN 978-0-316-49170-9.
- Ratliff, Evan. "O, Engineers!". Wired. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
- InfoWorld. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. 15 July 1996. p. 8. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
- Brown, Bob (2011-12-01). "2011's Most Notable Tech Industry Deaths". CIO. Retrieved 2020-11-14.
- Marquard, Bryan (22 May 2011). "Tom West; engineer was the soul of Data General's new machine". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- Paul Vitello (May 27, 2011). "Tom West Dies at 71; Was the Computer Engineer Incarnate". The New York Times.
- "An Interview with Chris Schwarz". 26 March 2012.
- Ratliff, Evan (December 2000). "O, Engineers!". Wired. Vol. 8, no. 12. pp. 356–367. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2009-06-30. Twenty-year retrospective of The Soul of a New Machine, with "where are they now?" segments on the people involved and on Data General.
- Cole, Richard (13 March 1996). "Tom West: The Soul of a Development Manager; Data General veteran expanding NUMA, open systems technology". UniNews. Santa Clara, California: UniForum. 10 (4): 4–5. ISSN 1069-0395. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 1996 interview with West.
- Data General 5th Generation MV/Family announcement. 1990. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2020-01-31. A decade after the events described in The Soul of a New Machine, West, still at Data General, briefly appears in this MV/9500 corporate announcement video.