back to article Complex chips and crash-proof computer pioneer Edward McCluskey dies

Edward McCluskey, professor at Stanford University and pioneer of complex chips and crash-proof computers, has passed away at the age of 86. McCluskey died on 13 February, according to last week's Stanford News. He developed the first algorithm for designing combinational circuits as a doctoral student at MIT – something he …

  1. Gene Cash Silver badge

    On the 13th?

    That's a bit stale for news...

  2. linicks

    "crash proof computers". He obviously never worked for MS then?

    Anyway, sad news - we are losing all the heroes (!Terry Wogan) lately :(

  3. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    Self-driving cars?

    For the next decade or two, the software faults in the top level self-driving algorithms will so dominate the self-driving fault / crash space that the computer hardware could be made from fragile vacuum tubes running wobbly Windows ME for all the difference it would make.

    Eventually these concepts would rise to significance, just don't hold your breath.

    And in related news, a Googly self driving car caused a crash today. Not just involved, but caused.

  4. mediabeing

    And you couldn't be bothered to at least show us the great man's face??


    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: "the great man's face"

      if Reg won't, I will

  5. dennis1234567890987654321

    I speculate that he was an author of the Quine-McCluskey Simplification Algorithm.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Correct (as a moment's research would have shown). Though really I believe he was the author of Quine-McCluskey, building on a process described by the logician and philosopher W. V. Quine.1 I don't think the two of them collaborated on it, though I could be wrong about that.

      I know Wackypedia says McCluskey developed "the first algorithm for designing combinational circuits", a phrase strikingly similar to the one used in the article, but I don't know what justifies this "first" business. Quine's work was in 1952, and he does mention application to circuit design, but careful readers will note that Quine is not McCluskey.2 McCluskey published his work in 1956, but Karnaugh described Karnaugh maps in 1953 (based on Veitch's work from the previous year).

      Quine-McCluskey is more amenable to automation, but Karnaugh mapping is still an algorithm. And while clearly both methods were developed roughly contemporaneously, it's also clearly not true that McCluskey's was first.

      All that said, McCluskey was an important figure and it's nice that the Reg published an obit, even a couple of weeks late.

      1For whom the popular programming problem "quine" is named. Also of course famous for discussing such topics as impenetrable substitution contexts.

      2Even in a penetrable substitution context.

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