In Memoriam: June 2015

IEEE mourns the loss of the following Fellows

4 June 2015

Myron Ginsberg

Supercomputing pioneer

Life Fellow, 71; died 10 April

Ginsberg helped install and operate the U.S. auto industry’s first supercomputer, at General Motors Research, in Detroit.

He joined GM in the late 1970s as a staff research scientist, where he focused on improving hardware and software performance for large-scale scientific and engineering applications. In 1983, the company bought its first supercomputer, which would reduce the time for moving new vehicles from concept to production from five years to 18 months. For one thing, instead of always having to build and crash-test actual prototype cars—an expensive and labor-intensive process that took up to three months per test—in some cases, GM engineers could run computer simulations instead.

After leaving GM, he became a systems engineering consultant at Electronic Data Systems, an information technology equipment and services company, in Plano, Texas. He was also an associate professor of computer science at Southern Methodist University, in Dallas.

Ginsberg was elevated to Fellow in 2009 for the “application of supercomputers in the automotive industry.” He was also a member of the IEEE Computer Society.

He received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1965 from Boston University and a master’s degree, also in mathematics, in 1967 from Clark University, in Worcester, Mass. Ginsberg went on to earn a Ph.D. in computer science in 1972 from the University of Iowa, in Iowa City.

Joseph W. Lechleider

Pioneer in digital communications

Life Fellow, 82; died 18 April

Lechleider came up with a method for eliminating interference in digital broadband communications, paving the way for high-speed digital subscriber line Internet service (more commonly known as DSL).

In 1955, he joined Bell Telephone Laboratories, in Murray Hill, N.J., as a researcher in signal processing and spent his entire career with the company. Bell Labs became Bellcore in 1982 after a court order broke up its parent company, AT&T. In 1987, he had an idea for increasing data speed on  telephone lines. At the time, phone companies were trying to figure out a way to send broadband signals at high speeds across ordinary copper telephone wires in order to compete with cable companies providing customers Internet access. Bellcore began using digital technology to deliver data. Researchers, however, found that when data speeds in both directions—downloading and uploading—were the same, they created electrical interference, known as crosstalk, which slowed data traffic to a crawl.

Lechleider determined that crosstalk could be avoided if download speeds were faster than upload speeds. This approach became known as the asymmetric digital subscriber line, or DSL. The technology did not become a mainstay until the late 1990s, as data-rich images, music, and videos were added to the Web. DSL allowed the phone company to meet customer demand for high-speed Internet access without having to install costly fiber-optic cable in homes and businesses.

He was elevated to Fellow in 1992 for “contributions to the theory and practice of high-speed digital subscriber line.” In 2013, Lechleider was inducted into the U.S. National Inventors Hall of Fame, in Alexandria, Va., for contributions to DSL Internet service.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cooper Union and a Ph.D. from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now Polytechnic Institute of New York University), both in New York City.

William S.C. Chang

Professor of electrical and computer engineering

Life Fellow, 84; died 25 April

Chang taught at the University of California, San Diego.

He was born in Nantung, China, and moved to the United States in 1948, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor. Chang went on to earn a Ph.D. at Brown University, in Providence, R.I. After completing his education, he was an electrical engineering professor at several universities, including Stanford; Ohio State University, in Columbus; and Washington University, in St. Louis, Mo.

Chang joined the University of California, San Diego in 1979, where his research focused on optical lasers, semiconductors, and wireless communications. He served as chair of the department of electrical and computer engineering from 1993 to 1996.

Chang was elevated to IEEE Fellow in 1978 for “contributions to optoelectronics and integrated optics.” He was a member of the IEEE Electron Devices, IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques, and IEEE Photonics societies.

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