|Birth Day:||February 11, 1915|
|Death Date:||Jan 7, 1998 (age 82)|
|Birth Place:||Chicago, United States|
|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
As per our current Database, Richard Hamming died on Jan 7, 1998 (age 82).
He had prodigious talent for mathematics from his grade school days, and after a Ph.D. in math he joined the Manhattan Project, working on its cutting-edge atom bomb research during World War II.
Richard Wesley Hamming was born in Chicago, Illinois, on February 11, 1915, the son of Richard J. Hamming, a credit manager, and Mabel G. Redfield. He grew up in Chicago, where he attended Crane Technical High School and Crane Junior College.
Hamming initially wanted to study engineering, but money was scarce during the Great Depression, and the only scholarship offer he received came from the University of Chicago, which had no engineering school. Instead, he became a science student, majoring in mathematics, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1937. He later considered this a fortunate turn of events. "As an engineer," he said, "I would have been the guy going down manholes instead of having the excitement of frontier research work."
He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska in 1939, and then entered the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where he wrote his doctoral thesis on Some Problems in the Boundary Value Theory of Linear Differential Equations under the supervision of Waldemar Trjitzinsky. His thesis was an extension of Trjitzinsky's work in that area. He looked at Green's function and further developed Jacob Tamarkin's methods for obtaining characteristic solutions. While he was a graduate student, he discovered and read George Boole's The Laws of Thought.
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign awarded Hamming his Doctor of Philosophy in 1942, and he became an instructor in mathematics there. He married Wanda Little, a fellow student, on September 5, 1942, immediately after she was awarded her own Master of Arts in English literature. They would remain married until his death, but had no children. In 1944, he became an assistant professor at the J.B. Speed Scientific School at the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky.
With World War II still ongoing, Hamming left Louisville in April 1945 to work on the Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos Laboratory, in Hans Bethe's division, programming the IBM calculating machines that computed the solution to equations provided by the project's physicists. His wife Wanda soon followed, taking a job at Los Alamos as a human computer, working for Bethe and Edward Teller. Hamming later recalled that:
Although Hamming had been hired to work on elasticity theory, he still spent much of his time with the calculating machines. Before he went home on one Friday in 1947, he set the machines to perform a long and complex series of calculations over the weekend, only to find when he arrived on Monday morning that an error had occurred early in the process and the calculation had errored off. Digital machines manipulated information as sequences of zeroes and ones, units of information that Tukey would christen "bits". If a single bit in a sequence was wrong, then the whole sequence would be. To detect this, a parity bit was used to verify the correctness of each sequence. "If the computer can tell when an error has occurred," Hamming reasoned, "surely there is a way of telling where the error is so that the computer can correct the error itself."
Hamming set himself the task of solving this problem, which he realised would have an enormous range of applications. Each bit can only be a zero or a one, so if you know which bit is wrong, then it can be corrected. In a landmark paper published in 1950, he introduced a concept of the number of positions in which two code words differ, and therefore how many changes are required to transform one code word into another, which is today known as the Hamming distance. Hamming thereby created a family of mathematical error-correcting codes, which are called Hamming codes. This not only solved an important problem in telecommunications and computer science, it opened up a whole new field of study.
During the 1950s, he programmed one of the earliest computers, the IBM 650, and with Ruth A. Weiss developed the L2 programming language, one of the earliest computer languages, in 1956. It was widely used within the Bell Labs, and also by external users, who knew it as Bell 2. It was superseded by Fortran when the Bell Labs' IBM 650 were replaced by the IBM 704 in 1957.
Hamming served as president of the Association for Computing Machinery from 1958 to 1960. In 1960, he predicted that one day half of the Bell Lab's budget would be spent on computing. None of his colleagues thought that it would ever be so high, but his forecast actually proved to be too low. His philosophy on scientific computing appeared as the motto of his Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers (1962):
In later life, Hamming became interested in teaching. Between 1960 and 1976, when he left the Bell labs, he held visiting or adjunct professorships at Stanford University, Stevens Institute of Technology, the City College of New York, the University of California at Irvine and Princeton University. As a Young Turk, Hamming had resented older scientists who had used up space and resources that would have been put to much better use by the young Turks. Looking at a commemorative poster of the Bell Labs' valued achievements, he noted that he had worked on or been associated with nearly all of those listed in the first half of his career at Bell Labs, but none in the second. He therefore resolved to retire in 1976, after thirty years.
In 1976 he moved to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he worked as an Adjunct Professor and senior lecturer in computer science. He gave up research, and concentrated on teaching and writing books. He noted that:
Hamming attempted to rectify the situation with a new text, Methods of Mathematics Applied to Calculus, Probability, and Statistics (1985). In 1993, he remarked that "when I left BTL, I knew that that was the end of my scientific career. When I retire from here, in another sense, it's really the end." And so it proved. He became Professor Emeritus in June 1997, and delivered his last lecture in December 1997, just a few weeks before his death from a heart attack on January 7, 1998. He was survived by his wife Wanda.
Richard grew up in Chicago, Illinois, his parents Richard J Hamming and Mabel G Redfield.
Currently, Richard Hamming is 106 years, 5 months and 25 days old. Richard Hamming will celebrate 107th birthday on a Friday 11th of February 2022. Below we countdown to Richard Hamming upcoming birthday.