• 1934
    (b.) - ?


An American electrical engineer and computer scientist, he was the co-inventor of the Plasma Display, and is largely regarded as the "father of PLATO", (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), the first (ca. 1960, on ILLIAC I) generalized computer assisted instruction system. He has made a career of improving classroom productivity by using computer and telecommunications technologies. He received his Bachelor's degree in 1955, his Master's degree in 1956 and his Doctorate in 1960, all in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois. He was Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois from 1960 to 1989. He retired from the University of Illinois to become a Distinguished University Research Professor in the Computer Science Department at North Carolina State University. He holds patents for inventions including the Plasma-Display Panel, the Binary-Weighted Solenoid, a high-quality modem, and new satellite communications techniques. The creation of the PLATO computer system, the first system to combine graphics and touch-sensitive screens, is the hallmark of his efforts. He co-invented the flat Plasma Display Panel in 1964. Originally invented as an educational aid to help students working in front of computers for long periods of time, plasma screens do not flicker and are a significant advance in television technology. He has received numerous awards and recognitions: In1967 he received the Industrial Research 100 Award, and in 1973 he received the prestigious Vladimir K. Zworkin Award of the National Academy of Engineering for "outstanding achievement in the field of Electronics applied in the service of mankind". Other awards include the Chester F. Carlson Award (1981) from the American Society for Engineering Education for "Innovation in Engineering Education", the Computer Science Man of the Year (1975) from the Data Processing Management Association, and the Education Award (1989) from the American Federation of Information Processing Societies. In 1982 he was named Laureate of the Lincoln Academy by the State of Illinois for contributions made "for the betterment of human endeavor". A member of the National Academy of Engineering since 1974, he was designated a National Associate by the National Academies in 2002. In October the same year, he was awarded an Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his efforts in advancing television technology. In 2004, the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois awarded him with the Alumni Distinguished Service Award, and in 2006, he was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame. He is also a Computer Society Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and a member of the American Society for Engineering Education.
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    Co-inventor of the Plasma Display, and is regarded as the "father of PLATO, the first generalized computer assisted instruction system
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