Fred Brooks

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Frederick Phillips Brooks, Jr. (born April 19, 1931) is a software engineer and computer scientist, best-known for managing the development of IBM's System/360 family of computers and the OS/360 software support package, then later writing candidly about the process in his seminal book The Mythical Man-Month. Brooks has received many awards, including the National Medal of Technology in 1985 and the Turing Award in 1999.


Life and career

Born in Durham, North Carolina, he attended Duke University, graduating in 1953, and he received a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics (Computer Science) from Harvard University in 1956. Howard Aiken was his advisor.

Brooks joined IBM in 1956, working in Poughkeepsie, New York and Yorktown, New York. He worked on the architecture of the IBM 7030 Stretch, a $10m scientific supercomputer of which nine were sold, and the IBM 7950 Harvest computer for the National Security Agency. Subsequently, he became manager for the development of the System/360 family of computers and the OS/360 software package. During this time he coined the term Computer Architecture.

It was in The Mythical Man-Month that Brooks made the now-famous statement: "Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later." This has since come to be known as "Brooks's law". In addition to The Mythical Man-Month, Brooks is also known for the paper No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering.

In 1964, Brooks founded the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and chaired it for 20 years. As of 2010 he is still engaged in active research there, primarily in virtual environments and scientific visualization.[1]

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