Mark Dean life and biography

Mark Dean picture, image, poster

Mark Dean biography

Date of birth : 1957-03-02
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Jefferson City, Tennessee, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-09-30
Credited as : IBM engineer, inventor, ISA

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An IBM engineer since 1980, Mark Dean holds three of the original nine patents on computer electronics from which present-day personal computers are derived, specifically on graphics controllers, device interfaces and the ISA bus. With Dennis Moeller, a colleague at IBM, in 1981 he invented the ISA (industry standard architecture) bus control for peripheral processing devices, which serves as a computer's central switchboard by connecting the central processing unit with such peripherals as the keyboard, monitor, printer, and other devices. In 1999 he led the team at IBM that built the first gigahertz (1000mhz) chip, capable of a billion calculations per second. He holds about forty patents, and has been at the forefront of developments in algorithms for computational science, design automation tools, digital visualization, embedded systems, formal verification methods, memory compression, and high-speed low-power circuits.

Computer scientist, inventor. Born March 2, 1957, in Jefferson City, Tennessee, Mark Dean is credited with helping to launch the personal computer age with work that made the machines more accessible and powerful.

The fact that a young African-American man went on to carve out such a significant niche in a field largely dominated by white engineers and scientists isn't all that surprising, given his background. From an early age, Dean showed a love for building things; as a young boy, Dean constructed a tractor from scratch with the help of his father, a supervisor at the Tennessee Valley Authority. Dean also excelled in many different areas, standing out as a gifted athlete and an extremely smart student who graduated with straight A's from Jefferson City High School. In 1979, he graduated at the top of his class at the University of Tennessee, where he studied engineering.

Not long after college, Dean landed a job at IBM, a company he would become associated with for the duration of his career. As an engineer, Dean proved to be a rising star at the company. Working closely with a colleague, Dennis Moeller, Dean developed the new Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) systems bus, a new system that allowed peripheral devices like disk drives, printers, and monitors to be plugged directly into computers. The end result was more efficiency and better integration.

But his groundbreaking work didn't stop there. Dean's research at IBM helped change the accessibility and power of the personal computer. His work led to the development of the color PC monitor and, in 1999, Dean led a team of engineers at IBM's Austin, Texas, lab to create the first gigahertz chip-a revolutionary piece of technology that is able to do a billion calculations a second.

In all, Dean holds three of the company's original nine patents and, in total, has more 20 patents associated with his name.

Despite his early success, Mark Dean continued to further his education. He earned his master's degree in electrical engineering from Florida Atlantic University in 1982. Then, 10 years later, he completed his doctorate in the same field from Stanford University.

While Dean's name isn't quite as well known as maybe other computer pioneers such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, the inventor hasn't gone completely unrecognized. In 1996 he was named an IBM fellow, the first African-American ever to receive the honor. A year later he was honored with the Black Engineer of the Year President's Award and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. In 2001, he was tapped to be a member of the National Academy of Engineers.

"A lot of kids growing up today aren't told that you can be whatever you want to be," Dean has said. "There may be obstacles, but there are no limits."

Honors and awards:

Black Engineer of the Year 1997
Ronald H. Brown American Innovators Award 1997
National Inventors Hall of Fame 1997
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
IEEE
Inroads Board of Directors
National Academy of Engineering 2001
National Society of Black Engineers
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society

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