In Memoriam: November 2018

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

30 November 2018

James H. Babcock

Electrical engineer

Life Fellow, 81; died 16 February

Babcock began working for the CIA in Langley, Va., in 1958 as a special communications and long-haul communications systems engineer. He left the CIA in 1975 to join the office of the defense secretary at the Pentagon, where he was responsible for satellite communications. He later served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence to the assistant secretary of defense for command, control, communications, and intelligence. In 1981, he became a member of the Senior Executive Service, which acts as a liaison between presidential appointees and federal workers.

Babcock left the government in 1981 to work for several companies in Virginia. He was hired as vice president and chief scientist at Aegis Research Corp., a company in Falls Church that provides information technology and technical services to the national security community. He then joined the Mitre Corp., in McLean, in 1988 as technical director. Mitre manages federally funded research and development centers supporting several federal agencies. He remained in that position until 1994, when he left to become a consultant. Mitre named him a Fellow in 1999, one of the few technical experts to be given that title.

He served as vice president of research and development at Planning Research Corp., a company in McLean that provided systems analysis services to industry and government. His work there included nuclear stockpile security analysis for the Department of Defense and supply-chain-threat analyses.

Babcock returned to the CIA in 2003, joining the directorate of science and technology. He helped establish the systems analysis and engineering office there. A year later, he was assigned to the Pentagon’s office of the under secretary of defense for intelligence, where he was responsible for a program that assessed foreign technology-based threats and developed concepts to counter them. He returned to the CIA director’s office in 2006 to manage a counterintelligence program.

He retired from the agency two years later and became a part-time employee at two businesses in Virginia. Intelligent Decisions, in Ashburn, develops and delivers information technology solutions for civilian, defense, and intelligence organizations. Defense Group Inc., in Reston, provides research, development, analysis, integration, management, and marketing support solutions to federal, state, and local government agencies as well as commercial clients.

Babcock was a member of the Defense Science Board (DSB) task force on resilient systems—which provides solutions to technological, operational, and managerial problems. From 2010 to 2012 he served as chair of the intelligence subpanel and was principal author of concept papers to establish a proactive counterintelligence program for cyber activities. He was a member of the 2016–2017 DSB panel for cybertech as a strategic capability.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, a master’s degree in EE from MIT, and an EE doctorate from Stanford.


Alan A. Ward

Electrical engineer

Life member, 88; died 25 June

Ward attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania at the age of 16, and earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1950. He worked at the college radio station.

After graduating, he joined the U.S. Army during the Korean War and worked for the National Security Agency. After he was discharged, he moved to Westwood, Mass. He worked for Sylvania in Wilmington and then Raytheon in Waltham.

He returned to Sylvania near the end of his career, helping to design automatic test equipment.

He earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Northeastern University, in Boston.


Prabha Shankar Kundur

Power electronics engineer

Life Fellow, 79; died 9 October

Kundur began his career in 1967, teaching at Bangalore University in India. He left there in 1969 to work as an analytical engineer at Ontario Hydro in Toronto. During his 25 years there, he held several senior-level positions including head of systems controls and manager of analytical methods and specialized studies in the power system planning division.

In 1993, he joined Powertech Labs, the research and technology subsidiary of BC Hydro in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. There he served as president and CEO from 1994 to 2006 and was responsible for leading the development, application, and commercialization of new technologies for the energy sector.

He served as an adjunct professor at several Canadian institutions including the University of British Columbia, University of Manitoba, University of Toronto, and Western University.

Kundur was an active IEEE volunteer. He served as chair of the IEEE Power System Dynamic Performance Committee from 2001 to 2003. He was a member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society executive committee and served as the society’s vice president for education from 2004 to 2010.

He received the 1997 IEEE Nikola Tesla Award, the 2005 IEEE PES Charles Concordia Power System Engineering Award, and the 2010 IEEE Medal in Power Engineering.

The IEEE PES Prabha S. Kundur Power System Dynamics and Control Award was established to recognize his technical leadership.

He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1959 from Mysore University in India, a master’s degree in EE in 1961 from the Indian Institute for Science in Bangalore, and a Ph.D. in EE in 1967 from the University of Toronto.


Paul G. Allen

Microsoft co-founder

Member, 65; died 15 October

Allen attended the Lakeside School in Seattle, where he met Bill Gates and they got their start in computing. After receiving a perfect score on his SAT, Allen attended Washington State University, in Pullman, but dropped out in 1974 to work as a programmer for Honeywell in Boston.

After Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) of Albuquerque introduced a microcomputer to the market in 1975, Allen persuaded Gates to drop out of Harvard and move to New Mexico with him. Allen and Gates showed up at MITS to arrange a deal whereby they would supply software for the computer—the major component that was lacking at the time. Microsoft Basic was the first software they wrote. Allen came up with the name Microsoft, a combination of microcomputer and software.

Allen and Gates committed in 1980 to supplying the operating-system software for IBM’s personal computer. The product offered to IBM—called Microsoft Disk Operating System, or MS-DOS—was introduced in 1981.

Soon after, Microsoft’s popular Windows operating system, used with a computer mouse and onscreen icons, entered the market. The company also introduced the Office suite of productivity programs for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Allen left Microsoft in the early 1980s, but remained on its board until 2000.

Allen and his sister, Jo Lynn “Jody” Allen Patton, cofounded in 1986 the personal holding company Vulcan, headquartered in Seattle. Vulcan oversaw his investments and initiatives.

During his lifetime, Allen donated more than US $2 billion to nonprofit groups dedicated to the advancement of science, technology, education, the environment, and the arts. He funded scientific research organizations including Allen Institutes for brain science and for artificial intelligence, both in Seattle.


Lyle M. Smith

Telecommunications professional

Member, 75; died 19 October

Smith served as primary assistant to George Heilmeier, Bell Communications Research CEO and IEEE Life Fellow. Heilmeier received the 1997 IEEE Medal of Honor “for discovery and initial development of electro-optic effects in liquid crystals.”

Smith later was hired by IEEE, where he worked as staff director of corporate activities for more than a decade.

He was active in his community and his church, serving as an usher at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Bernardsville, N.J. He also worked diligently for his homeowner’s association, especially in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, which struck New Jersey in 2012.

In 1961 Smith attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., and later transferred to Monmouth University, in West Long Branch, N.J., where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

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