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BOB OVERTON EVANS

1927–2004

Elected in 1970

“For personal and leadership contributions to the development of
computer technology and the design of computer systems.”

BY GENE M. AMDAHL

I first met Bob Evans in the summer of 1952 at the IBM laboratory in Poughkeepsie, New York. I had just arrived in Poughkeepsie in June as a new employee. Bob was associated with the same engineering group that I was entering, the group that had designed the IBM 701 computer. At that time most of the engineers were involved in supporting the field engineering activities, but Bob was working on the design and implementation of a graphical display system for the RAND Corporation. We became friends right away, and I was excited to see the engineering techniques he employed in the display system, which turned out to be very effective.

With many of the original planners of the IBM 701 assigned to the Sage System, I was assigned the task of planning the follow-on to the IBM 701—the IBM 704. I did the defining of the 704, including floating point and indexing. Bob Evans and the other 701 engineers did the logic designs involved in implementation of the changes. The market size estimation for the IBM 704 was 32, but the actual number sold was 140, so it was a remarkably profitable program! I was then asked to plan the IBM 709. At this time Bob Evans was assigned to the management of another project, so I lost track of him. I left IBM in late 1955, when the laboratory structure was changed and my project, Stretch (the IBM 7030), was altered, such that I no longer had control of the planning. Bob was subsequently involved as a project engineer in the Stretch I/O subsystem



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