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Richard J. Reid

Richard J. Reid

Richard ReidRichard James Reid , Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, retired June 30, 1999 after a 43-year distinguished career at Michigan State University.

Dr. Reid came to Michigan State as a PhD. student and instructor in Electrical Engineering in 1956. He worked on the design and construction of the MISTIC computer under the direction of his advisor, Dr. L. W. VonTersch.

Working along with other members of the Computer Laboratory, Julian Kateley, M. Glenn Keeney and Jerry Weeg, the original computer was completed in November 1957. Over the next 18 months, Reid extended the design of the ILLIAC computer, copied as the MISTIC, by adding a transistorized, magnetic-core memory that quadrupled the memory capacity to 4096, 40-bit words.

He completed his Ph.D. with support from a NSF Science Faculty Fellowship, and became an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Michigan State University in 1959.

He was a summer faculty specialist at IBM in 1961 and received funding at MSU from IBM for the development of computer design software from 1961 through 1965. In 1965 Dr. Reid became a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Director of the newly initiated Computer Science Program. His first additions to the program were three, year-long sequences in structured programming, computer-design and architecture, and compiler construction. He continued to head Computer Science until 1968 when it became a formal department within the College of Engineering.

He was a summer researcher at Sandia Laboratory in Livermore, California in 1969 and a visiting scholar at Stanford University in 1969-70. It was during this period at Stanford that he formulated his correlation-matrix (associative) memory. The details were presented at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 1971.

He later teamed with the late J. Sutherland Frame, of the Mathematics Department, to develop a rigorous mathematical basis for the operation of this type of memory, which they reported in the IEEE Transactions on Electronic Computers.

Serving as coach of the ACM Programming Team at Michigan State from 1976 through 1995, his teams won one national championship, two-second place trophies and one third. His MSU teams advanced from the regional competitions (by finishing first or second among the 60 regional competitors) to the international competition nine times during this period.

In the 1980's he developed software in support of computer design used in the laboratories of the senior level sequence CPS 421, 422, and 423. Students first used TRS-80's using the BASIC language, moving to PC's (286) using Pascal and subsequently C. The first simulator used in computer architecture was used in classes beginning Winter Term 1985 and used Pascal. This simulation of architectures has been in continuous use in our architecture course, and was translated to C and subsequently to C++.

In the summer of 1990 he introduced C++ and object-oriented programming in a senior-level 490 course. In the fall of that year he introduced C++ and object-oriented programming to the beginning students in Computer Science. For this he taught a pilot sequence during 1990-91 as the three-term sequence CPS 292A, 292B, 333C.

This three-term sequence replaced four courses of the standard curriculum: CPS 251, 252, 311, 333. He repeated this pilot sequence a second time in 1991-92 and in the following two years he introduced and taught the new semester courses CPS 230 and 330, whereby C++ became the introductory programming language for all Computer Science students.

In 1991 he was the first departmental recipient of the College of Engineering Withrow Award for teaching excellence.

Beginning in 1995, he worked with the College of Engineering Curriculum Committee to define a new course to serve as the introduction to technical computing for engineering students, teaching this new course during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 academic years.

As supplemental professional activity, he obtained his Michigan Professional Engineers license in 1980 and Attorney-at-Law license in 1985.