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Notable 2015 deaths in technology, science & inventions

Bob Brown | Jan. 4, 2016
In memoriam: We mourn the passing of Gene Amdahl, Ralph Ungermann and other industry influencers.

Donald Shell: Computer scientist (Died Nov. 2, age 91)

Fresh from earning his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Cincinnati in 1959, Shell published the Shell sorting algorithm, which puts elements of a list in a specific order, such as numerical. Later in his career, while working at General Electric’s new Information Services Department, his organization was among the first to adopt client-server computing.

Ralph Roberts: Co-founder and CEO of Comcast (Died June 18, age 95)

Built the biggest cable TV company in the United States, starting with the humble 1963 acquisition of a small cable company in Tupelo, Miss., then from many more buyouts after that. Comcast grew into a multibillion dollar business, going well beyond TV offerings to deliver telecom and Internet services.

Michael Hammond: Co-founder of Gateway Computer (Died Oct. 29, age 53)

A former mechanic with an engineering mind, Hammond teamed up with marketing-and-sales oriented Ted Waitt to start up Iowa-based Gateway, which would become a PC giant in the 1990s. The business, which launched on a farm and shipped its PCs in spotted boxes marked like Holstein cows, was acquired by Acer in 2007 and is now based in California. The company over the years sold not just PCs, but servers, storage systems and TVs, too. Those attending Hammond’s funeral were encouraged to wear Iowa Hawkeye and Chicago Bears garb in honor of the big sports fan.


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