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A discussion to collect information about the people who were involved in the development and support of MTS.

Ken Bowler (UBC)

posted Feb 12, 2017, 3:41 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 3:51 PM ]

Kenneth Haydn Bowler
March 23, 1947 – August 17, 2016

We are devastated at the accidental loss of an amazing husband, father, and best friend.  A wonderful human being!  Survived by his loving wife, Joan, of 45 years, his 2 brothers, Alan and Paul (Jenny), and his 4 wonderful sons, Michael (Katja Goetze), Jeffrey (Laura and granddaughter, Elara), Daniel (Karlah Rudolph) and Nicolas (Jenn Vorano). Ken studied Electrical Engineering at Carleton University and completed his Masters of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia, graduating “Honours with High Distinction”.  Ken’s career started at Bell Northern Research, after which he was a founding member of the successful software developing company, Signiant, in Kanata.  His love of traveling, hiking, boating, woodworking, cooking, gardening, reading, family and friends, inspired everyone who met him.  A memorial service will be held at St. James Anglican Church, 1138 Bridge Street, Manotick, on Friday, August 26th at 4 p.m.  Reception following at the family home, 6121 James Bell Drive, Manotick.  Those wishing may make memorial donations to Centre 454, (454 King Edward St., Ottawa, K1N 7M8) or St. Alban’s Refugee Fund, (454 King Edward St., Ottawa, K1N 7M8) or the Ottawa Food Bank, (1317 Michael St, Gloucester, ON K1B 3M9).  Condolences, donations or tributes may be made at www.tubmanfuneralhomes.com.

Ed Fronczak (UM)

posted Feb 12, 2017, 1:13 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 3:51 PM ]

From http://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/annarbor/obituary.aspx?n=edward-john-fronczak&pid=184097138&eid=sp_shareobit&eid=sp_shareobit 

Edward John Fronczak


Fronczak, Edward John 9/27/1938 - 2/8/2017 Ann Arbor, MI 

FRONCZAK, EDWARD JOHN ("Edo"), 78, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, passed away peacefully at Heartland Health Care Center in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. He passed away as a result of complications from a stroke on May 31, 2016. Edo was a 1957 graduate of Cass Technical High School in Detroit and the University of Michigan. He had retired from the University of Michigan Computing Center, where he worked as a computer scientist. Edo, a world traveler, was active in judo, computer science, dog training and breeding, and culinary arts. Edo was preceded in death by his parents, John and Caroline, and his sister, Rose. He is survived by close friends Eugene Kissling of Whitmore Lake and Michael and Beverly Kroll of Pinckney. There are no local services planned. Edo will be laid to rest next to his parents at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City, Arizona.
Published in Ann Arbor News on Feb. 12, 2017

Frank Westervelt (UM and WSU)

posted Jul 25, 2016, 7:15 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Jul 25, 2016, 7:24 AM ]

Obituary for Frank Westervelt

Westervelt, Franklin 3/26/1930 - 7/29/2015 Ann Arbor Dr. Franklin Herbert Westervelt passed away on July 29, 2015. He died peacefully at his Ann Arbor home, attended by his daughter, Wendy, his caregiver. He was born in Benton Harbor, MI, on March 26, 1930, the son of Herbert Oleander Westervelt and Dorothy Ulbright Westervelt. Franklin received degrees in Mathematics, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering from the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. He attained his PhD in 1961 and was an Associate Director of the U of M Computing Center. He was a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Wayne State University, where he served as Director of the Computing Center and Chairman of the ECE department. He was part of the team that developed the MERIT network, linking computers at U of M, MSU and Wayne State University, an early "internet" between the three state universities. Franklin was a wonderful husband and father. He was a master of home projects from decks and boathouse doors to swing-and-slide sets and sandboxes. He also supported strongly the family wildlife sanctuaries in both the Ann Arbor and Traverse City areas, and devoted many weekend hours improving and enjoying them. Franklin is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Andy and Linda (McCarren); their four children Renee, Eric, Laura and Peter; his daughter, Wendy; his nephew and his wife James and Aida (Datuon) Ednie; and his faithful Lhasa Apso, Merlin. Franklin was preceded in death by his loving and beloved wife of 65 years, Louise (Andrews) Westervelt; his sister-in-law and brother-in-law Frances (Andrews) and William Ednie, and one niece Linda Ednie.

- See more at: http://obits.mlive.com/obituaries/annarbor/obituary.aspx?pid=175409532#sthash.5ESQ6GgS.dpuf

Guest Book for Franklin Westervelt

December 25, 2015

I just learned of Frank's passing. The Westervelt family were the best neighbors that anyone could wish for. They lived next door to my parents and were wonderful to my mom after my dad passed. Their love of animals and nature was amazing. I admired them very much. RIP Frank and Louise. You did good on this earth.

Marilyn Wilkie, Wellston, Michigan 

August 07, 2015

I worked with and for Dr Frank Westervelt at the WSU College of Engineering electronics shop until his retirement. He displayed an exuberance as yet unmatched by anyone. I will always remember his after-hours visits to us shop technicians and the very interesting stories and subjects he brought to us. My condolences go to all who knew and loved him.

Randy Szabla, Farmington Hills, Michigan

 August 03, 2015

Frank came to Wayne State University in 1970 to become director of our Computing Center. It was great to have a man of his stature come to our center. He brought the MTS computer operating system to Wayne, and I enjoyed working for him and with him. He had an open-door policy of directing the Computing Center, and I often walked in to discuss an issue with him. My sympathies go to his family and friends.

 Jim Simmons, Madison Heights, Michigan

August 02, 2015

I worked with Frank when he was at Wayne State University and I was at the Merit Network. He will be missed. There is a biographical article about him and his many contributions to computing and education on Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_H._Westervelt

Jeff Ogden, Ann Arbor, Michigan

August 02, 2015

I worked with Frank for many years at the UM Computing Center where he was a good friend and a great role model. He had far more influence on the success of the Computing Center in the 60s and 70s and most people realize. We will all miss him.

Mike Alexander, Ann Arbor, Michigan

- See more at: http://www.legacy.com/guestbooks/annarbor/franklin-westervelt-condolences/175409532?&eid=lc_gbexpire#sthash.GiEKlSq1.dpuf

Robert M Graham (UM)

posted May 5, 2016, 7:40 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 3:55 PM ]

Professor Emeritus
 College of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Massachusetts
 Computer Science Building, 140 Governors Drive. Amherst MA 01003-9264
 Phone: 413.545.2744, Fax: 413.545.1249, Web: http://www.cics.umass.edu/~bob

Biographical Sketch

Copied from https://people.cs.umass.edu/~bob/bio.html on 5 May 2016:

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.


Copied from http://people.cs.umass.edu/~bob/pubs.html on 5 May 2016:


Principles of Systems Programming, R.M. Graham; John Wiley & Sons, 1975.


"On GAT and the Construction of Translators," B. Arden and R. Graham; Communications of the ACM, July 1959.

"The Internal Organization of the MAD translator," B.W. Arden, B.A. Galler, and R.M. Graham; invited paper, ACM Compiler Symposium, NBS, Washington DC, November 1960; published in Communications of the ACM, January 1961.

"An Algorithm for Equivalence Declarations," B.W. Arden, B.A. Galler, and R.M. Graham; Communications of the ACM, July 1961.

"MAD at Michigan," B.W. Arden, B.A. Galler, and R.M. Graham; Datamation, December 1961.

"An Algorithm for Translating Boolean Expressions," B.W. Arden, B.A. Galler, and R.M. Graham; Journal of the ACM, April 1962.

"Translator Construction," R.M . Graham; Notes of Summer Conference on Automatic Programming, University of Michigan, June 1963.

"Bounded Context Translation," R.M. Graham; Proceedings of the 1964 SJCC, Washington DC, April 1964; also published in the book: Programming Systems and Languages; S. Rosen, editor, McGraw�Hill, Inc., 1967.

"Structure of the Multics Supervisor," V.A. Vyssotsky, F.J. Corbato, and R.M. Graham; Proceedings of the FJCC, Las Vegas, November 1965.

"Protection in an Information Processing Utility," R.M. Graham; paper presented at the ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles, Gatlinburg TN., October 1967; published in the Communications of the ACM, May 1968; also published in Security and Privacy in Computer Systems; L.J. Hoffman, editor, Melville Publishing Co., 1973.

"File Management and Related Topics," R.M. Graham; Notes of Summer Conference on Advanced Topics in Systems Programming, University of Michigan, June 1969; also, Project MAC TM 12, MIT, September 1970.

"The MAD Definition Facility," B.W. Arden, B.A. Galler, and R.M. Graham; Communications of the ACM, August 1969.

"Teaching Systems Programming and Software Design: Problems and Solutions," R.M. Graham; SIGCSE Bulletin, Vol.#2, No.#3 (Proceedings of SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Academic Education in Computer Science, November 1970).

"Use of High Level Languages for Systems Programming," R.M. Graham; Project MAC Technical Memorandum 13, MIT, September 1970.

"A Software Design and Evaluation System," R.M. Graham, G.J. Clancey, Jr., and D.B. DeVaney; Proceedings of ACM SIGOPS Workshop on System Performance Evaluation; Cambridge MA, April 1971; also published in the Communications of the ACM, February 1973; also reprinted in IEEE Tutorial on Software System Design: Description and Analysis; IEEE Press, 1980.

"Performance Prediction," R.M. Graham, in "Advanced Course on Software Engineering," published by Springer�Verlag as Vol.#81 of Lecture Notes in Economics and Mathematical Systems (1973); republished by Springer�Verlag as Vol.#30 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science (1975), also as a Study Edition (1977).

"Proceeding of ACM SIGPLAN�SIGOPS Interface Meeting," R.M. Graham and M.D. Schroeder, editors; SIGPLAN Notices, Vol. 8, No. 9, September 1973.

"Performance Analysis as a Fundamental Objective in Software Engineering Education," article in Software Engineering Education: Needs and Objectives (edited by A.I. Wasserman and P. Freeman); Springer�Verlag, New York, 1976.

"Operating Systems: An Advanced Course," edited by R. Bayer, R.M. Graham, and G. Seegmuller; Vol.#60 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Springer�Verlag, 1978.

"Thoughts on the Design Phase of an Integrated Software Development Environment," L.A. Clarke, R.M. Graham, and J.C. Wileden; Proceedings of the Fourteenth Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Vol.1; University of Hawaii, 1981.

"Ada � The Billion Dollar Language," R.M. Graham; Abacus, Winter 1994.

Gavin R. Eadie (NUMAC and UM)

posted Oct 2, 2015, 7:19 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 3:52 PM ]

IBM 1620 at St. Andrew's University : Gavin's first ’serious’ computational experience

From: Gavin Eadie
Subject: Fwd: well, it's all happening (in retrospect) ...
Date: October 1, 2015 6:47:03 PM EDT
To: Mike Alexander, Jeff Ogden

.. some of my personal history. 
The web page is interesting, the 1620 was my first ’serious’ computational experience!

Begin forwarded message:

From: Peter Adamson
Date: September 30, 2015 at 1:54:11 PM EDT
To: Morven Wilson, Gavin Eadie, Robin & Enid Erskine
Subject: well, it's all happening (in retrospect) ...


Also have a 30-minute slide show that complements the rather
cramped exhn space with an expansive look at the early days
of computing in St A, including a lot of pictures.

And we have our 'get-together' lunch tomorrow -- with a few spouses,
45 people from the early days before we moved to the John honey bldg.
We have the IBM salesman (David Justice) and engineers (John and
Ozzie) + operators, programmers, and several users.

I'll try and get lots of pix...


Plugging St Andrews In

Wednesday 30 September 2015


Marking 50 years since the first computer was brought into service by the University of St Andrews in the town itself, a small exhibition charting the changes in this now ubiquitous technology will open at the Byre Theatre on Thursday 1 October.

The first computer – an IBM 1620 Model II – was the largest system of its kind in Europe and it occupied an entire air-conditioned room within the University’s observatory. Valued at £135,000 in 1965 but purchased for £60,000, it cost around the same as a small housing estate at the time and was the result of more than a year of negotiations and planning.

The enormous machine was run around the clock, managed by the Department of Astronomy and trained operators.

While the capacity of the IBM 1620 is minute by modern standards, the computer was advanced for the time and played an important role in the development of computing in St Andrews.

Records from the time show that the computer was in use over 400 hours per month. Courses were held on programming and seminars were given by University staff who had made use of results from the computer. It was able to churn through extensive calculations and was most in demand by staff and researchers studying astronomy, applied mathematics, botany, chemistry, physics and theoretical physics.

Peter Adamson, retired Computing Officer from IT Services at the University of St Andrews, has worked with Roger Stapleton, Honorary Scientific Officer from the School of Physics and Astronomy, to gather together items for display.


These include elements from the first computer and its early successors like the BBC Micro and Commodore PET, along with documents – such as the 1961 letter from the late Professor Douglas Walter Noble Stibbs to the then Principal, Sir Thomas Malcolm Knox, putting forward the case for purchasing the 1620.

An array of objects and images from the 60s and early 70s show what life was like in what was then called the Computing Laboratory, including heavy hand-cranked calculators, a large steel printer roller covered in embossed symbols and lettering, and early punched cards, which served to input programs or data into the computer.

Mr Adamson said: “In 1965 the first computer service within St Andrews revolutionised our work. The equipment required careful programming and weekly engineering maintenance but we were now able to process enormous amounts of data locally instead of taking it elsewhere.

“I have fond memories of working with these early computers, and of course I enjoyed it when enterprising users made the IBM 1620 graph-plotter hum Christmas carols, or created a 3D noughts and crosses game. Due to a bug, the computer always won!”

Swift advances in technology and increasing workload meant that a replacement computer was installed in 1969. This IBM 360/44 was specially tailored for scientific use. It enabled computer programs to run 60 times faster than the 1620 model, and it had a central processor with a respectable 128K bytes of memory – dwarfed by today’s smart phones.

The First Computers in St Andrews will run at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews from 1 to 31 October, opening to the public with a free event on 1 October at 6.30pm and offering exhibition-goers the opportunity to see the exhibition first and meet Peter Adamson and Roger Stapleton.

Notes for news editors

Photo credit (top): Alex Coupar. Peter Adamson and Roger Stapleton are available for interview. Please contact the Communications Office.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 462530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.

Eric Aupperle (Merit and UM)

posted May 1, 2015, 1:05 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 3:53 PM ]

Eric M. Aupperle, President Emeritus of the Merit Network, passed away on 30 April 2015 at his home in Ann Arbor.

See the People section of this web site for a short bio sketch for Eric.

Comments from Eric's friends and coworkers at Merit and the University of Michigan

On May 1, 2015, at 2:28 PM, Jeff Ogden wrote:

I have some sad news to pass along.  Janice Short called me a bit ago to say that Eric Aupperle had died. She learned about it from the folks at Merit and they learned it earlier today. I don't have any more details other than he was found in his home and may have died several days ago. Eric's death follows the death of his wife, Nancy, not quite two months ago. Eric had just turned 80.


On May 1, 2015, at 2:45 PM, Mark Knopper wrote:

Hi Jeff,

Al also emailed me about this. So sad - I have great memories of working with Eric, and really liked Nancy too. Eric was a great visionary. I would like to go to the funeral if possible.


On May 1, 2015, at 2:49 PM, Brian Cashman wrote:


Thanks for sending this. Indeed sad news. Eric was so instrumental in his low-key way in bringing about so much in our field. Eric was my instructor in a digital circuits class ECE365, something I'll always remember.


On May 1, 2015, at 3:01 PM, Gavin Eadie wrote:

Sad news indeed - I owed him more than I could ever thank him for.
He brought me to the US, and the 36 years I’ve lived here (as I think
of it, almost to the exact day) changed my life.

On May 1, 2015, at 3:55 PM, Jeff Ogden wrote:

Janice said that she would pass along any information on a funeral or memorial service. Merit may do something, but wants to find out the family's wishes first.  I'll pass on anything that I learn.


On May 1, 2015, at 7:37 PM, David Rodgers wrote:

When I first came to the Computing Center, Aaron and Bernie sent me over
to have a chat with Eric. We had a great conversation that I can still
remember. When one of the committees were formed to plan the wiring
of the campus, I found out Eric asked Bernie/Aaron to put me on the
committee. I learned a tremendous amount from that experience and
met many of the to: actors on this message in that way. I never had much
personal contact with Eric and didn't know him well but he is one of my
"white hats" and a straight shooter. Merit was a great contribution to
the history of computing and the computing profession........


On May 1, 2015, at 10:34 PM, Scott Gerstenberger wrote:

Yes, he certainly was a straight shooter as you said, Dave. I was saying to Liz
today that I don't think I ever knew anyone who was so unflappable -- he had a
very steady hand on the tiller. If he was ever rattled, it was hard to tell. He took
on responsibility in a serious way and worked tirelessly, generally without a lot
fanfare, to pull off some major accomplishments. A great model and mentor for
many of us.


On May 2, 2015, at 9:17 AM, Douglas Van Houweling wrote:

Jeff -- Thanks for the information. Eric was a remarkable human being.  Doug

On May 2, 2015, at 9:59 AM, Gregory Marks wrote:

It certainly is sad to learn of Eric's passing.  Memories of his smile, his laugh, his always warm, friendly, and thoughtful demeanor -- such memories easily come to mind.

One of many impressive things about Eric was how he brought together such talented people, and how good he was at nurturing and empowering them.  I can remember times when various of us, myself or others, would wonder why Eric would not just fix some work issue -- but now looking back with the perspective of time, it is easy to see that he helped us all accomplish more and become better ourselves, both as individuals and in the group's efforts, because of the kind of leader he was.  He was a natural leader. 

At some point, maybe in the late 1990's, I learned he did not trust ATM machines and had never used one.  I can only laugh thinking about all the incongruities of that.

Among my strongest memories of Eric and Nancy together was their enthusiasm for ski trips out west.  One of many great shared pleasures; I have to believe he was missing her a great deal.

Eric was a person who had the right talent, at the right time, in the right place, to make a huge difference.  At least a few of us know that and can honor him for it.


On May 5, 2015, at 9:45 PM, Gary Pirkola wrote:

Curious, the seemingly insignificant things that one remembers, that color one’s lasting impressions of someone.

I didn’t work for Eric, but I interacted with him professionally on a number of occasions.

The thing that I will always remember about Eric is that whenever I returned a call from him, he would start out be saying, “Thanks for returning my call”, as if I were doing something special by returning his call.

This initial greeting had a very positive personal effect on me during the current (and any subsequent) phone conversations. First, because I hadn’t really done anything special (yet), I was predisposed to being receptive and helpful regarding whatever it was he might want to discuss. Second, I had an innate sense that if there was ever a time when I might want to discuss something with him, I felt that he would be very responsive and would do his best to be helpful as well.

Just a simply way to start out a phone conversation, yet extremely effective in communicating the message that he considered me a valued participant in discussing the subject at hand, and certainly guaranteeing that any future conversations between us would be useful and productive as well .

In retrospect, it’s not surprising to me that he was able to accomplish so much, working with so many people, on so many projects at Merit over the years.

His communication style encouraged you to be responsive and helpful, and you full well knew, flipping roles, he would do likewise.

Gary Pirkola

Eric's obituary from M-Live:

Aupperle, Eric 4/14/1935 - 4/30/2015 Ann Arbor Age 80, passed away April 30, 2015. Eric was born April 14, 1935 in Batavia, New York to Max Karl Aupperle and Hedwig Elise Helen Haas. He moved to Ann Arbor in 1937 and graduated from Ann Arbor High School in 1953. He earned a BSE degree in both Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from the University of Michigan in 1957 and an MSE in Nuclear Engineering from U of M in 1958. He married his late wife, Nancy of 56 years, on June 21, 1958 in Dearborn, Michigan. Eric worked at the University of Michigan his entire career beginning as a research scientist in 1957 at the Cooley Electronics Laboratory. He spent most of his time at Michigan at Merit Computer Network where he retired in 2001 as President of Merit. He was also a lecturer for the University's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for 40 years. In his off time, Eric enjoyed traveling, spending time with his family and relaxing at the family cottage. Eric is survived by his children Bryan (Carol) Aupperle of Carey, NC, his daughter Lisa (Alexander) Hudy of Livonia, MI and his grandchildren Matthew, Daniel and Nicole. He is also survived by his sisters Charlotte (Douglas) McGregor of Cleveland, OH and Gertrude (Irving) Salmeen of Ann Arbor. There will be a private interment. A Memorial Celebration of both Eric and Nancy's lives will be held on Saturday, May 9, 2015 from 2-4 pm at Nie Family Funeral Home, 2400 Carpenter Rd, Ann Arbor. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in memory of Eric Aupperle to the University of Michigan Electrical and Computer Engineering Fund (fund number 313472, U of M EECS Dept, 1301 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2122), which supports student research, guest instructors and state-of-the-art equipment purchases.


A memorial to Eric from U-M's Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department:

Eric Max Aupperle (BSE EE and Math '57; MSE NERS '58; Instm.E. '64), renowned president of Merit Network and Research Scientist Emeritus, passed away Thursday, April 30, 2015, at the age of 80.

It is not often that an individual’s memorial tribute reflects a life lived in the heart of a major technological revolution. As director and president of a computer research network that played a contributing role in the development of the Internet, Eric Aupperle lived such a life.

Mr. Aupperle was a true Michigan man, devoting his career to the University of Michigan and to the State of Michigan in his role as director and later president of Merit Network. Throughout his career at Merit, Eric was an employee of the University of Michigan, serving for a time as Associate Director for Communications (1981-1989) and Interim Director of Information Technology Division Network Systems (1990-1992).

After receiving his bachelor's degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics in 1957, Mr. Aupperle was hired as a researcher of electronic devices at the U-M Cooley Electronics Laboratory. He was a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1963-2002, teaching digital circuits and other circuits and computer-related courses. By the mid 1960's, Eric was programming assembly language into the earliest version of mini-computers in the university’s Computer Electronics Lab.[1]

In the fall of 1969, Eric was hired as the first employee of Merit Network by the director, Prof. Bertram Herzog. His job was to implement a computer network that linked the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University. Recalling the early years in a later interview, Eric said they had to build the technology, called communications computers (essentially routers by today’s terminology). Only ARPA was doing something similar at that time. [2]

"It was clear that we needed someone who had electrical engineering, circuit design capabilities," Herzog says today of his choice of Aupperle. "There was a lot of innovative stuff to be done." [3]

In 1973, the network was formally dedicafted, and for the first time a researcher at Michigan, for example, was able to run a program at Michigan State or Wayne State. A year later Eric was appointed director of Merit, and he would serve as Merit’s first president from 1988 to 2001.

Aupperle and BraunIn 1976, Merit interconnected with Telenet, a spin-off of ARPANET, which ultimately connected Merit users with the world. In 1983, Hans-Werner Braun was brought in from Germany to interconnect Merit's network with ARPANET itself. Once completed - Merit became the first network to support both a connection-based protocol and the connectionless TCP/IP suite. [4]

The next major milestone in Eric’s career occurred after the National Science Foundation (NSF) established NSFNET in 1985 with the goal of networking five new recently-funded supercomputing centers. Within just a year, network traffic far exceeded capacity, and NSF put out a bid to upgrade NSFNET to meet the demand.

Merit Network, which by this time had grown to include eight universities, was selected as lead organization of this upgraded NSFNET, a consortium that included IBM, MCI, and the State of Michigan. Eric would later write, “Almost overnight Merit’s role of providing networking services to our member universities and a handful of other Michigan-based organizations was extended to include an extremely significant, highly visible national networking function.” [5]

As President of Merit, Eric was called on many times to talk about NSFNET and the rise of networked computing.  In a 1985 article printed in IEEE Spectrum, he said, “The communications and computer industries evolved independently, but they have blended inexorably, both technically and, more recently, organizationally.”

By 1991, discussions of who owned the Internet, which itself was an object of some confusion, was a hot topic of conversation. In the article, Just Who Owns the Internet?,  Eric was quoted as saying, “When one talks of the Internet, you have to envision a large number of networks, some of which are major backbones like the NSF Net. Others are statewide or regional networks, others are networks within colleges or research educations or labs. What counts as ownership? ... The desired outcome is access as open as it is today, in terms of the educational and research community, and also for commercial users.” [6]

Dan Atkins III, Professor of Information and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, former Dean of the College of Engineering and the School of Information, and inaugural Director of the Office of Cyberinfrastructure at NSF, confirmed the importance of Eric's leadership and Merit's role in shaping the Internet:

"Eric Aupperle was a pioneer contributor to the rapid emergence of the Internet as we now know it. Pre-internet he headed the development of MERIT, one of the very first regional computer networks. MERIT created the capacity for the University of Michigan to win the operational leadership of the NSFNet, the project that led to rapid adoption of the TCP/IP standards of the original ARPA Net to all of higher education. This rapid growth launched TCP/IP as the open defacto standard for all of the Internet and thus dampened the attempts by commercial parties to establish proprietary networks. The internet may well be very different today were it not for the talented leadership of Eric Aupperle and colleagues at the University of Michigan."

In the early 1990’s, Merit successfully worked to provide network access to K-12 schools throughout Michigan. Merit also helped develop the University of Michigan’s GoMLink, the first virtual library on the Internet. In 1994, Merit became involved with the North American Network Operators’ Group (NANOG), the professional association for Internet engineering and architecture. Merit coordinated and managed the activities of NANOG until 2010.

NSFNET funding ended in 1995. Eric said the $50M spent by the government resulted in “a great return on investment.”

Doug Van Houweling, Professor of Information, took over as president of Merit when Eric stepped down. Prof. Van Houweling served a Chairman of the Board at Merit during NSFnet, was Chief Executive Officer of Internet2 between 1997-2010, and is a member of the Internet Hall of Fame. He stated:

"Eric Aupperle led Michigan's higher education network, Merit, through three decades of innovation. He had a unique talent for attracting gifted colleagues and welding their sometimes disparate visions into action that kept Merit at the forefront of network technology and applications. His crowning achievement was leadership of the NSFNET project which demonstrated that Internet technology could serve millions of users and led to today's Internet. Eric's leadership changed the world."

Eric remained committed to Merit’s purpose as being “Michigan’s premiere network service provider for our educational and research communities.”  Merit is still an active non-profit organization, providing high-performance networking and services to the research and education communities in Michigan as well as across the U.S.

In recognition of his leadership at Merit and resulting contributions to the history of networked computing, especially for the research and educational community, Mr. Aupperle was awarded the highest alumni honor by the College of Engineering, the Alumni Medal, in 2003. He received the IEEE Third Millenium Medal in 2000. Eric also served as a board member of the EECS Alumni Society from 2004-07.

"The department is honored to have counted Mr. Eric Aupperle as a friend and colleague," said Khalil Najafi, Schlumberger Professor of Engineering and Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "We salute his extraordinary accomplishments as leader of Merit Network, and offer our sincere condolences to his entire family."

[1] History of the Merit Network, by Kate Kellogg. Interview with Eric Aupperle. Ann Arbor Business Magazine. February, 2006.

[2] 40 years and going strong: Internet pioneer Merit celebrates and looks ahead. Former leader of Michigan research network reflects on organization’s accomplishments. Interview with Eric Aupperle. Networkworld, Nov 10, 2006.

[3] A Chronicle of Merit's Early History, written in 1989 by John Mulcahy, a Merit staff member who had been hired on a temporary basis to complete a variety of technical writing projects.

[4] History of Merit, see 1980-1989, by Merit Network, Inc.

[5] Merit – Who, What, and Why, by Eric. M. Aupperle, President, Merit Network, Inc. This four-part article covers the years 1964-1998.

[6] Just Who Owns the Internet, by Sharon Fisher, InfoWorld, February 4, 1991.

May 7, 2015

Vern Dettwiler (UBC)

posted Apr 6, 2015, 7:00 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 3:54 PM ]

From Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RASayle/posts/10204032541997067?pnref=story

I was fortunate to be hired by the UBC Computing Centre in 1968. I was also fortunate to last 34 years there.

Those were heady times in so many ways. Computing technology was zooming ahead, lots of new staff and staff turnovers and the music was great.

Our Director was James M Kennedy and he passed away in 2004. Then the Associate Director was Al Fowler and he passed away in 1998. Back then when I started, the person in charge of Special Projects was a very brilliant electrical engineer named Vern Dettwiler. Vern could built anything electronic and was lured away from UBC by Dr John Macdonald to form Macdonald, Dettwiler and Associates. It was soon to become Canada's greatest aerospace industry.

I remember being shocked when he left UBC, feeling he left us with a huge void. But, as I said, those were heady times and we soon replaced him with other incredibly gifted people.

Time flew and I wasn't one of the people that Vern kept in touch with. I heard he had retired back to Switzerland. A few hours back, I was googling something or someone and put in Vern's name. I was shocked to see his obituary at the top of the list. Shocked that he passed away 18 months ago and there was no mention in either the local or national newspapers.

I just remembered what I was looking for. I discovered there was a Dettwiler Pavilion in the UBC Hospital buildings. I was looking to see if Vern was involved and how much was involved... Don't remember any mention of that either in the papers.

Lots of Vern stories out there, I'm sure.


A memorial service for Werner is to be held at the Eichfeld Cemetery in Steffisburg (Eichfeldstrasse 24), at 14 hrs on Tuesday 1 October.


  • Dennis O'Reilly Wow Ralph. Thanks for posting this. I remember working with Vern in the early years.
  • Ralph Austin Sayle Before they got MTS, Vern agreed to build an device to interface Teletype type devices for MTS. I heard tales that he figured out the IBM Channels by scoping them (reverse engineering) and then he and the shop built the interface.

    Peter M was telling
    me recently that the device would freeze the IBM channel which could only be reset by a re-IPL.

    Also before my time, the Systems Group (I think) roughed out the design for a software package to replace the hardware multiplexor that had never worked.

    That's about when I came along to pick up the implementation started by Don McWilliam and then you picked it up...

    By the time I joined the Communications Group in 1974, Vern had departed for other greener pastures.
  • Ralph Austin Sayle Something else I figured out from reading and googling about the Computing Centre's history... before i was hired.

    Vern was the machine room supervisor for the IBM 7044 and even built special hardware to make the machine more productive in the mid to
    late 1960s.

    Originally printing was done on-line as a job progressed. I remember one researcher telling me that his very long jobs occasionally ran out of time because it had to wait for the printer to be readied. His solution was to write out a few dozen lines of asterisks on the console "to wake up the computer operator".

    Vern changed the process so a CDC 8092 was used to create input (the waiting card decks were read onto a tape) tapes and also to drive the printer from the output spool tape created on the 7044. I remember those days quite well... I think there were even spool tapes to drive the plotter. to add a forgotten name, Norm Finlayson did Vern's programming. Norm was there when I started but he left for medicine.

    The spooling process was quite reliable but occasionally the 8092 hung up. the "solution" was to knee one of the panels. It worked. Hmm, I was never curious then why it worked or what was behind the panel.
  • Karl Acton Ah, Fortran IV and punched cards, a form of Hell.
  • Ralph Austin Sayle Vern in one of those old IBM posed photos from the UBC archives. I forgot about the bow ties.
    Ralph Austin Sayle's photo.
  • Suzanne D. Goodrich (Suzy, UM)

    posted Oct 24, 2014, 3:58 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Feb 12, 2017, 3:53 PM ]

    A bio sketch is available for Suzy in the People section of the web site.


    GOODRICH, Suzanne D. 11/9/1938 - 10/1/2014 Ann Arbor, Michigan Suzanne D. Goodrich was born November 9, 1938 and passed away October 1, 2014. Suzanne held both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan, and contributed both time and resources to further the University's work. She was a computer analyst and retired from the University of Delaware in 1997. She was preceded in death by her husband Raymond F. Goodrich, her sister Marie D. Bearden, and her brother Joseph Dinga. She is survived by her children; Andrew, Thomas (Colleen), and Barbara Goodrich, her granddaughter, Elizabeth Goodrich, and her sister's husband Bill Bearden, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved Ann Arbor deeply and started planning for the Art Fair and Summerfest months in advance. An advocate for environmental causes, she founded the Raymond F. Goodrich Preserve, N. Dixboro Rd. Ann Arbor Charter Township where a combination dedication and memorial service will be held on November 15th at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Suzanne's memory can be made to the Washtenaw County Natural Areas Preservation Program.

    Published in the Ann Arbor News from October 20th to 23rd, 2014.

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