In Memoriam: July 2016

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

20 July 2016

Howard E. Lustig

Electrical engineer

Life Senior Member, 89; died 8 June 2015

Lustig was an electrical engineer for aerospace and communications companies.

He acquired patents for several devices, including a stereographic radio system, a radiation mapping system, and a potentiometer.

He was a member of the IEEE Communications and IEEE Computer societies.

Lustig served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University.


Marcus Chomet

Electrical engineer

Life Senior Member, 85; died 17 April

Chomet was an engineer and inventor who held 11 U.S. patents.

He began his career at Airborne Instruments Laboratory, in Deer Park, N.Y. He left Airborne to join Sanders Associates, a defense contractor in Nashua, N.H., and then founded Telecue Systems, in Huntington, N.Y.

He operated a ham radio for 65 years with the handle K2REX.

Chomet earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic Institute of New York University), in New York City.


Chao Kong Chow

Pattern recognition pioneer

Life Fellow, 88; died 23 April

Chow specialized in computer science and manufacturing research and was a trailblazer in pattern recognition.

He began his career as an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Pennsylvania State University, in State College. Chow then spent 28 years as a researcher at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. In 1961 he published a theorem about Boolean threshold switching functions, linking each to two Fourier coefficients; those numbers became known as the Chow parameters. His theorem now has applications in circuit complexity, game theory, learning theory, and voting system design.

After he retired, he volunteered in the IT department at Northern Westchester Hospital, in Mt. Kisco, N.Y. After he and his wife moved to Walnut Creek, Calif., he volunteered with the Rossmoor Computer Club, which provides free classes for adults.

Chow was a member of the IEEE Computer Society.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1949 from National Tsing Hua University, in Beijing. He earned master’s and doctoral degrees—both in electrical engineering, in 1950 and 1953—from Cornell.


Solomon W. Golomb

Communications innovator

Life Fellow, 83; died 1 May

Golomb was a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, where his pioneering research had a lasting impact on digital communications and mathematics.

He began his career at Glenn L. Martin, an aerospace company in Santa Ana, Calif. He became interested in communications theory while there and began his work on shift register sequences—components of digital circuits that allow additional inputs or outputs to be added to a microcontroller.

Golomb joined the USC faculty in 1963. He did pioneering research in maximum-length, shift-register sequences—also known as pseudorandom or pseudonoise sequences—which have military, industrial, and consumer applications. Today millions of phones rely on pseudorandom direct-sequence spread-spectrum techniques implemented with shift register sequences. His research made USC a major player in the communications arena. He continued to teach freshman-level classes at the university until shortly before his death.

He invented a form of entropy encoding, now known as Golomb coding. He also invented the Golomb ruler for use in mathematics. It is a set of marks at integer positions along an imaginary ruler, with no two pairs of marks the same distance apart.

He developed several games as well. In 1949 he invented cheskers, a chess-checkers hybrid. He also invented polyominoes and pentomino, puzzle games that paved the way for the popular video game Tetris.

“Golomb’s Puzzle Column” appeared in the IEEE Information Society newsletter, and he was a frequent contributor to the Scientific American “Mathematical Games” column.

Golomb was elevated to Fellow in 1982 “for pioneering contributions to the development of digital communications and information theory, embodying unique and novel applications of techniques from discrete mathematics.”

Among his honors were the 1985 Claude E. Shannon Award from the IEEE Information Theory Society, the 2000 IEEE Richard W. Hamming Medal, a 2012 U.S. National Medal of Science, and the Franklin Institute’s 2016 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering.

Golomb received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore. He went on to receive master’s and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Harvard.


Robert T.H. Alden

Former columnist for The Institute

Life Fellow, 79; died 23 May

Alden wrote a regular column for The Institute from 1992 to 2001, called “Traveling the Information Highway with Bob Alden.”

A power engineer and a professor of electrical engineering at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ont., Canada, Alden was cofounder and director of the school’s Power Research Laboratory. He was named professor emeritus in 2001.

An active IEEE volunteer, he was director of the IEEE Foundation from 2004 to 2009 and served as 2001 president of the IEEE Canadian Foundation. He was cofounder and chair of the IEEE Toronto Section’s Life Member affinity group and belonged to the IEEE Computer and IEEE Power & Energy societies.

He was elevated to Fellow in 2005 “for contributions to eigenvalue analysis of power system stability.”

Alden received several IEEE honors, including the 1992 Larry K. Wilson Transnational Award, the 1999 Region 7 Outstanding Service Award, the 2002 Haraden Pratt Award, and a 2009 award from the History Committee.

He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees—all in electrical engineering, in 1960, 1964, and 1968—from the University of Toronto.

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