Robert M. Graham Biographical Sketch

I was born in Michigan at the beginning of the Great Depression (1929). My father, like so many others, was unemployed. Fortunately, we were able to live with my grandfather (my mother's father) on his farm in central Michigan. Many of these small farms were nearly self-sufficient, so we did not suffer. My earliest recollections are of life on a farm, the most vivid being the rooster that rushed at me whenever I went into the barnyard. My mother, also unemployed, taught me to read. When I was six my father got a job in a near-by town. We moved there and I entered school in the first grade, while my mother resumed teaching high school mathematics. Growing up in a small mid-western town was mostly uneventful. Later fond memories are of trips to Kincardine, Bruce County, Ontario, Canada where my father was born. His father emigrated from Scotland, as did many of the other residents of Bruce Country. We would visit Kincardine in the summer during their Highland Games. As a young boy of Scottish descent, the games were very exciting (I am still stirred by the sound of bagpipes).

After high school I studied mathematics at the University of Michigan until drafted into the US Army near the end of the Korean action. At the completion of my training I was sent to Tokyo, Japan as a clerk in the Far East headquarters of the Army Security Agency. While there I became interested in computers. After being discharged, I returned to the University of Michigan where I finished my undergraduate and graduate degrees. In my first year I took the only computer courses offered by the University, a total of two -- "Introduction to Programming" and "Numerical Analysis". With this background I obtained a graduate assistantship in the University's newly established academic computing center. During my tenure with the computing center, I co-authored two compilers (GAT for the IBM 650 and MAD for the IBM 704/709/7090), implemented a concurrent IO system for the IBM 709/7090, and wrote numerous other programs.

In 1963 I moved to MIT to participate in the development of MULTICS, their pioneering time-sharing system. This was a major project that took about seven years from the initial planning until the system was in daily use by a large community of users. I was one of the principle designers, with particular responsibility for protection, dynamic linking, and other key system kernel areas.

Following MIT, I spent two years at the University of California at Berkeley and three years at City College of New York. In 1975 I moved to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst for a five year stint as Chairman of the Computer Science Department. After that I continued as an "ordinary" faculty member in the Computer Science Department. I officially retired in 1996 but continued to teach one course each semester until the end of 2003. I now devote my time to writing another book, consulting, production of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and my home town's conservation commission.