Richard Hamming

From Academic Kids

Richard Wesley Hamming (February 11, 1915January 7, 1998) was a mathematician whose work had many implications for computer science and telecommunications. His contributions to science include the Hamming code, the Hamming window (described in section 5.8 of Digital Filters) and the Hamming distance.

He was born in Chicago and died in Monterey, California. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1937, a master's degree from the University of Nebraska in 1939, and finally a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1942. He was a professor at the University of Louisville when World War II was going on, and left to work on the Manhattan Project in 1945, programming one of the earliest electronic digital computers to calculate the solution to equations provided by the project's physicists. The objective of the program was to discover if the detonation of an atomic bomb would ignite the atmosphere. The result of the computation was that this would not occur, and so the United States used the bomb, first in a test in New Mexico, and then twice against Japan.

Later 1946-1976 he worked at the Bell Telephone Laboratories, where he collaborated with Claude E. Shannon. On July 23rd, 1976 he moved to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he worked as an Adjunct Professor until 1997, when he became Professor Emeritus.

He was a founder of the Association for Computing Machinery, which he also served as its President.


Awards and professional recognition

The Richard W. Hamming Medal is an award given annually by IEEE for 'exceptional contributions to information sciences, systems and technology'.

See also

Books

  • Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers, McGraw-Hill, 1962; second edition 1973.
  • Calculus and the Computer Revolution, Houghton-Mifflin, 1968.
  • Introduction To Applied Numerical Analysis, McGraw-Hill, 1971.
  • Computers and Society, McGraw-Hill, 1972.
  • Digital Filters, Prentice-Hall, 1977; second edition 1983; third edition 1989. ISBN 048665088X
  • Coding and Information Theory, Prentice-Hall 1980; second edition 1986.
  • Methods of Mathematics Applied to Calculus, Probability, and Statistics, Prentice-Hall, 1985.
  • The Art of Probability for Scientists and Engineers, Addison-Wesley, 1991.
  • Art of Doing Science and Engineering: Learning to Learn, Gordon and Breach, 1997.

Quotes

Machines should work. People should think.
Does anyone believe that the difference between the Lebesgue and Riemann integrals can have physical significance, and that whether say, an airplane would or would not fly could depend on this difference? If such were claimed, I should not care to fly in that plane.
There are wavelengths that people cannot see, there are sounds that people cannot hear, and maybe computers have thoughts that people cannot think.
—Richard Hamming

External links and references

This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL.
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de:Richard Hamming fr:Richard Hamming

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