W. Wesley Peterson

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W. Wesley Peterson
W. Wesley Peterson.jpg
BornApril 22, 1924
DiedMay 6, 2009 (aged 85)
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
AwardsJapan Prize
Claude E. Shannon Award
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, computer science

William Wesley Peterson (April 22, 1924 – May 6, 2009) was an American mathematician and computer scientist. He was best known for designing the cyclic redundancy check (CRC),[1] for which research he was awarded the Japan Prize in 1999.[2]

Peterson was born on April 22, 1924 in Muskegon, Michigan and earned his Ph.D. in 1954 from the University of Michigan.[2][3] Peterson was a professor of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, joining the faculty in 1964.[4] He started work at IBM in 1954.[4] He authored the publication of algebraic coding theory Error Correcting Codes in 1961. He co-authored a number of books on the topic of error correcting codes, including the revised 2nd edition of Error Correcting Codes[5] (co-authored with Edward J. Weldon). In the early 1950s he contributed significantly to the development of signal detection theory through participation in the IRE Professional Group on Information Theory.[6] He has also done research and published in the fields of programming languages,[7] systems programming, and networks. As well as the Japan Prize in 1999,[2][8] he was awarded the Claude E. Shannon Award in 1981,[4] and the IEEE Centennial Medal in 1984.[4] In 2007, two years before Peterson's death, Intel added crc32 to the SSE4.2 instruction set of the x86-64 architecture.[9]

Peterson finished 16th in the 2005 Honolulu Marathon for males ages 80 to 84.[10] He died on May 6, 2009 in Honolulu, Hawaii survived by five children from two different marriages, his wife, and several grandchildren.[3]


  1. ^ Peterson, W. W. & Brown, D. T. (January 1961). "Cyclic Codes for Error Detection". Proceedings of the IRE. 49: 228–235. doi:10.1109/JRPROC.1961.287814. S2CID 51666741. – The original paper on CRCs
  2. ^ a b c "Dr. W. Wesley Peterson, 1999 (15th) Japan Prize Laureate". Japan Prize Foundation. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Obituaries, Dr. William Wesley Peterson". The Honolulu Advertiser. May 17, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d The Newsletter of the Colleges of Arts & Sciences at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Summer 1999, Volume 5, Number One Retrieved November 24, 2011
  5. ^ Peterson, W. W. & Weldon, E. J. (1971). Error Correcting Codes, Revised 2nd Edition. MIT Press. ISBN 0-262-16039-0.
  6. ^ Peterson, W.W., Birdsall, T. G. and Fox, W. C. (1954). "The theory of signal detectability". Proceedings of the IRE Professional Group on Information Theory. 4 (4): 171–212. doi:10.1109/TIT.1954.1057460.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Peterson, W. W. (June 1974). Introduction to Programming Languages. Prentice Hall College Div. ISBN 978-0-13-493486-0.
  8. ^ Mary Adamski (December 16, 1998). "W. Wesley Peterson receives Japan Prize for work in digital error control". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  9. ^ https://software.intel.com/sites/default/files/m/8/b/8/D9156103.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  10. ^ "Honolulu Marathon Updates – Results by division – Males 80 to 84". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. December 11, 2005. Retrieved November 24, 2011.

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