Fritz J. Friedlaender
IEEE Magnetics Society president
Member Grade: Life Fellow
Age: 87; Died: 3 October
Fritz Josef Friedlaender was a founding member of the IEEE Magnetics Society, serving as its president in 1977 and 1978.
For 45 years, Friedlaender was a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind. A renowned expert in the field of magnetism, his research focused on the engineering applications of magnetic domains, and he made significant contributions to high-speed data storage. He retired in 2000 as professor emeritus.
He earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1951 and 1955.
Irving S. Reed
Member Grade: Life Fellow
Age: 88; Died: 1 September
Irving S. Reed, a mathematician and engineer, was best known for inventing along with Gustave Solomon a class of algebraic error-correcting and error-detecting codes, known as Reed-Solomon codes. And he and David E. Muller developed the Reed-Muller codes, a family of linear error-correcting codes used in communications.
From 1951 to 1960, Reed worked at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratories, in Lexington, Mass., where his research focused on computer programming languages and the theory and analysis of radar systems.
In 1960, he left Lincoln Laboratories to join Rand Corp., a nonprofit research facility in Santa Monica, Calif., partly funded by the U.S. government. Three years later he became a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. Reed was a founding member of the university’s Communication Sciences Institute and its Signal and Image Processing Institute. He retired in 1993.
Reed received several IEEE awards for his technical contributions, including the 1989 Richard S. Hamming Medal and the IEEE Information Theory Society’s 1998 Golden Jubilee Award for Technological Innovation. He shared with Solomon the 1995 IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award for “contributions to basic error-correcting codes, specifically the Reed-Solomon codes, which have led to the compaction of data and made possible a generation of consumer compact optical disk products.”
Reed earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, all in mathematics, from Caltech.
Computer industry pioneer
Member Grade: Life Senior Member
Age: 91; Died: 17 December
Erwin Tomash was cofounder of Dataproducts Corp., which became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high-speed printers.
After serving as a radar specialist in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, Tomash became a junior electrical engineer at Engineering Research Associates, a computing firm, in Arlington, Va.
In 1962 he cofounded and became CEO of Dataproducts, in Los Angeles. Through the next two decades, the company developed dot-matrix and more advanced digital printers. Tomash stepped down as CEO in 1971 and retired in 1980 as chairman of the board.
In 1979, he cofounded the Charles Babbage Institute in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota. The research center specializes in the history of information technology, digital computing, computer programming, software, and networking.
Tomash received the IEEE Computer Society’s 1987 Computer Entrepreneur Award in recognition of his early pioneering work. He was a member of the Computer Society and the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology.
He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1943 from the University of Minnesota, then earned a master’s degree in engineering in 1950 from the University of Maryland, in College Park.