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ECN History: Technical Contributors

This list is by no means exhaustive; ECN has had dozens of highly talented employees who have made major contributions to Purdue University. This list will grow as research continues.

Dr. Ben Coates

Head of EE (1972-1983), Founder of EE Network

Ben Coates
Photo source: A Century of Progress: The History of Electrical Engineering at Purdue (1888-1988) by L.A. Geddes

Dr. Coates decided to make computing resources available for undergraduate students in 1977, and his vision of increasing the availability of timeshare interactive computing spread throughout the schools of engineering to become the Engineering Computer Network. Dr. Coates was the head of Electrical Engineering when he founded what has become the Engineering Computer Network. Dr. Coates set a tone for always thinking big. When it came to providing computers, he thought in terms of 1000 when Purdue had fewer than 100 computing stations. He taught the rest of his team to think in terms of 1000 and imagine great possibilities, and ECN has continued to think big ever since. Before he left, Dr. Coates gave a directive that all Schools of Engineering should be treated equally in terms of support. Dr. Coates put a priority on cooperation and being sensitive to the needs of each School of Engineering, and his directive is still being honored.


Prof. Bernd Hoefflinger

Head of Electrical Engineering (1984-1985)

Bernd Hoefflinger
Photo source: A Century of Progress: The History of Electrical Engineering at Purdue (1888-1988) by L.A. Geddes

When Ben Coates resigned, the next head of EE was Prof. Hollinger, and at that time, the head of EE was who oversaw ECN. Prof. Hollinger was only the head for a short time, but he kept the forward momentum that Dr. Coates put in place. Under his direction, ECN continued to grow.


George Goble

Original Member of EE Network, Operating Systems

George Goble

George worked with timeshare interactive server, UNIX platform, VAX 11/780 and Gould MP1 computers. He worked with the Gould manufacturer to manipulate source code for the operating system in order to make the early systems function at maximum efficiency in an academic environment.


Joe Rogers

Original Member of EE Network, Hardware Maintenance

Joe is known for being able to fix anything that's broken. He has always been able to diagnose hardware problems without diagnostic messages and has a real knack for figuring out how things work.


Bill Croft

Original Member of EE Network, Application Software Programmer

Bill developed software projects for Electrical Engineering. One of his major projects was writing a software package to do VLSI for Prof. Steve Bass, a large scale integrated circuit design software, and his product was used for several years. He also assisted students with writing their own programs on the system.


Bill Simmons

Original Member of EE Network, Manager of Computing

Bill Simmons

Bill oversaw the overall operations of installing, developing, and maintaining general purpose timeshare and desktop computing for all schools of engineering. He was also heavily involved in the business side of the network, such as purchasing hardware and software packages.


Marian Delp

Training and Documentation

Marian Delp

Marian has made not only technical contributors, but she has been one of the greatest social contributors. She has set the atmosphere for working at the Engineering Computer Network, making it a more pleasant environment. Marian is also heavily involved in working with the ECN student staff.


Bobbi Mooney

Site Specialist for Mechanical Engineering

Bobbi Mooney was one of the first women to work for the Engineering Computer Network and she blazed a trail for the many women who followed her. She elevated the professional level of the group while contributing her own vast technical knowledge.


Curt Freeland

Manager of Systems Engineering

Curt put together the first "ticket software," a program that the students and staff could use to report problems in both software and hardware. He also put together a package called "Trouble," which is what this problem reporting software evolved into.

In the mid-1980's, when ECN had VAX 11/780s, the primary compute engine had a problem that caused the machine to crash once or twice a day. Some say this was one of the biggest problems that ECN has ever faced, and Curt spent his late evening hours working on the machine to find the solution. The joke at the time was that he replaced everything but the wheels on the computer (which is probably closer to truth than fiction). He eventually discovered that is was a bad cable, after he worked tirelessly for three weeks to solve the problem.


Jeff Schwab

Software Specialist

Jeff developed UNIX workstation software during the early days of the EE Network.


Dave Curry

UNIX Systems Administrator

Dave Curry is responsible for developing much of the software that allows ECN to function the way that it does. He set up Igor/rdist skeleton code as well as several other tools. He was also involved with the development of ACMaint (Account Maintenance), which keeps accounts, names, and passwords standardized on all of the machines through networked computers.

Dave broadcast a solar eclipse live over the internet, marking one of the first ever internet webcasts. Numerous people from all over the world viewed this webcast. Dave began working as a student programmer and joined the Network Operations and Software Support staff in 1985. He completed a degree in Computer Science from Purdue before he moved on to the Research Institute for Advanced Computer Sciences (RIACS) in California in 1988.


Mike Marsh

Hardware Services

Mike was very good at repairing the older, finicky machines. He was also one of the team members who was involved with the historic Dual VAX innovation.


Prof. Richard Schwartz

Head of Electrical Engineering (1985-1995), Dean of the Schools of Engineering (1995-2000)

Richard Schwartz
Photo source: A Century of Progress: The History of Electrical Engineering at Purdue (1888-1988) by L.A. Geddes

Professor Schwartz became EE department head and immediately supported ECN in a strong way. He worked hard to identify funding for more computers to meet computing needs, and he worked closely with the other heads of the Schools of Engineering to help them enable computing in their schools as well. Prof. Schwartz encouraged cooperation with the campus computing center. Through cooperation, duplication of services was reduced, and computing at Purdue became much more efficient.

During Prof. Schwartz's tenure as head of ECN, Netnews, a large bulletin board of interest groups became popular around campus. Netnews was used heavily by Computer Engineering students and faculty members as well as people in other departments.

Professor Schwartz became the dean of the Schools of Engineering, and changed the reporting structure so that ECN reported to an Associate Dean of Engineering rather than the head of Electrical Engineering.

 

For more information on ECN contributors, visit the current staff listing at https://engineering.purdue.edu/ECN/People/Staff/.

 

ECN History Index

Last modified: 2014/01/23 14:58:28.976588 US/Eastern by joshua.g.davis.1
Created: 2007/05/24 13:38:27.112000 GMT-4 by brian.r.brinegar.1.

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