David Wheeler (British computer scientist)

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David John Wheeler
Born (1927-02-09)9 February 1927[1]
Birmingham, England
Died 13 December 2004(2004-12-13) (aged 77)
Nationality British
Fields Computer Science
Institutions University of Cambridge
Computer Lab, Cambridge
Darwin College, Cambridge
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Thesis Automatic Computing With EDSAC (1951)
Doctoral advisor Maurice Wilkes[2]
Doctoral students Michael Burrows
Andy Hopper
Mathai Joseph
Roger Needham
Bjarne Stroustrup
Kwok-Yan Lam
Known for Burrows–Wheeler transform[3]
Tiny Encryption Algorithm (TEA)[4]
Wheeler Jump[5]
WAKE (cipher)
EDSAC[6]
Notable awards Fellow of the Royal Society (1981)
Computer Pioneer Award (1985)

David John Wheeler FRS (9 February 1927 – 13 December 2004)[7][8][9] was a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge.[10][11][12][13]

Education

Wheeler was born in Birmingham and gained a scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge to read the Cambridge Mathematical Tripos, graduating in 1948.[14] He completed the world's first[citation needed] PhD in computer science in 1951.[15]

Career

Wheeler's contributions to the field included work on the EDSAC[16] and the Burrows–Wheeler transform. Along with Maurice Wilkes and Stanley Gill he is credited with the invention of the subroutine (which they referred to as the closed subroutine), and gave the first explanation of how to design software libraries;[5] as a result, the jump to subroutine instruction is often called Wheeler Jump. He was responsible for the implementation of the CAP computer, the first to be based on security capabilities. In cryptography, he was the designer of WAKE and the co-designer of the TEA and XTEA encryption algorithms together with Roger Needham. In 1950, along with Maurice Wilks, he used the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator to solve a differential equation relating to gene frequencies in a paper by Ronald Fisher.[17] This represents the first use of a computer for a problem in the field of biology.

Wheeler married Joyce Blackler in August 1957, who herself used EDSAC for her own mathematical investigations as a research student from 1955. He became a Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge in 1964 and formally retired in 1994, although he continued to be an active member of the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory until his death. In 1994 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2003, he was named a Computer History Museum Fellow Award recipient "for his invention of the closed subroutine, and for his architectural contributions to ILLIAC, the Cambridge Ring, and computer testing."[18] The Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge annually holds the "Wheeler Lecture", a series of distinguished lectures named after him.[19]

Wheeler is often quoted as saying "All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection, except of course for the problem of too many indirections."[20] Another quotation attributed to him is "Compatibility means deliberately repeating other people's mistakes."[citation needed]

References

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  2. David Wheeler at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. Burrows, Michael; Wheeler, David J. (1994), A block sorting lossless data compression algorithm, Technical Report 124, Digital Equipment Corporation<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  8. "Cambridge Computer Laboratory – Obituaries: David Wheeler, 1927–2004". Retrieved 2011-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Professor David Wheeler - Obituaries, News - The Independent". London. 22 December 2004. Retrieved 2011-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. List of publications from Microsoft Academic Search
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  14. David Wheeler's publications indexed by the DBLP Bibliography Server at the University of Trier
  15. The Preparation of Programs for an Electronic Digital Computer by Maurice Wilkes, David Wheeler, and Stanley Gill; (original 1951); reprinted with new introduction by Martin Campbell-Kelly; 198 pp.; illus; biblio; bios; index; ISBN 0-262-23118-2
  16. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  17. Gene Frequencies in a Cline Determined by Selection and Diffusion, R. A. Fisher, Biometrics, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Dec., 1950), pp. 353–361
  18. CHM. "David Wheeler — CHM Fellow Award Winner". Retrieved 30 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Computer Laboratory:Wheeler Lectures". Retrieved 15 October 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. Diomidis Spinellis. Another level of indirection. In Andy Oram; Wilson, Greg; Andrew Oram (2007). Beautiful code. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly. ISBN 0-596-51004-7. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links