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Dead At 92, Business Computing Pioneer David Caminer 142

Posted by timothy
from the 92-and-holding dept.
Brooklyn Bob points out this fascinating obituary of David Caminer, the first systems analyst. "The tea company he worked for developed their own hardware and software — in 1951! Quoting New Scientist: 'In today's terms it would be like hearing that Pizza Hut had developed a new generation of microprocessor, or McDonald's had invented the Internet.'"
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Dead At 92, Business Computing Pioneer David Caminer

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  • So close (Score:1, Interesting)

    by KasperMeerts (1305097) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @05:44PM (#23993633)
    And still no first post.
    Strange isn't it. This is one of the brighter minds of Computer Science and still I, a computer geek, have never heard of him.
  • Re:So close (Score:5, Interesting)

    by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @05:49PM (#23993671)
    Why haven't you heard of him?

    My guess is because he was on the commercial side of the business (though the FT referred to him as a "systems analyst" in their obit. yesterday). From the little I know of academic teachings, it's not considered trendy to focus on such areas - particularly as he didn't program in Java

  • by erikharrison (633719) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @06:02PM (#23993747)

    While I recognize and agree with the point you're trying to make, I think it's a bit overstating the case to call engineers replaceable cogs. If you're working withing a relatively solved problem domain, and we're talking about a certain minimal level of skill, then this is true.

    But in _this_ case we're talking about a completely nascent problem space. Caminer's brilliance was recognizing that computers could solve the problem. Yet it still took John Pinkerton with heaps of assistance from the Math Lab at Cambridge to design and build a computer with operating system sufficient to the task.

  • Re:Tea company? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SteveAstro (209000) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @06:03PM (#23993755)

    It also owned Tea plantations and flour mills.

    In further trivia, Nigella Lawson, the TV chef is the daughter of the Lyons Heiress Vanessa Salmon

  • Damn Americans (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Haxx (314221) on Sunday June 29, 2008 @08:14PM (#23994575) Homepage

    First the historian says,

    "Americans can't believe this," Paul Ceruzzi, a historian of computing and curator at the National Air and Space Museum, said in an interview last week. "They think you're making it up. It really was true."

    Then the article says, .Lyons sent employees to the United States to study office automation, and American experts said they should go to the University of Cambridge, where Maurice Wilkes was developing an early computer.

    Seems like the historian doesn't know the history and revealed a hint of anti-american sentiment. It is my experience that any American interested in the first systems analyst wouldn' care where he/she is from.

  • Re:So close (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SimonGhent (57578) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:33AM (#23998129)

    I learned about this guy during my Computer Studies degree course. Really interesting chap, it's amazing how few people have heard of LEO compared to Colossus... but then I guess that an accounting computer for a chain of cafes is a lot less interesting than WW2 code breaking!

    Interesting (sort of) related fact - the Lyons Tea Houses which were a fixture of pretty much every English town became Wimpey, the British burger chain, now confined to run down shopping centres. And another (on a roll here): The Angel, Islington from the British Monopoly board, was a Lyons Tea House.

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