“Who wants to get a computer? Nobody volunteered so I was elected.” So I put out a proposal to get a computer system at UCF and we got bids from Data General and Digital Equipment Corporation…
Remembering the assembly language, programming, machine code, software from the early 1970s at UCF. Dr. Benjamin Patz, worked in the Engineering and Computer Science Department at the time and recalls the department chair, Bruce Matthews, asking, “Who wants to get a computer?” Nobody volunteered so Dr. Patz took on the project. He describes the task of selecting equipment and getting good manuals for the students. He says, “You still talk to students who are using some of the same material even now.”
He remembers when Dr. Simmons got an analog computer system at UCF. Then after they got the mini computer system, microcomputers started to come out and you could use an L socket to make electronic experiments. You could also build yourself a microcomputer.
Don Medoff, at Stromberg Carlson, a member of IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, and IEEE Computer Society, was a founder of the microcomputer conferences in Orlando. Dr. Patz ran the conferences for several years.
Dr. Patz shares how through his involvement with IEEE he met Terry Greenfield at the Cape, Ben Symeko at the Naval Training Equipment Center, and other people working on interesting computer projects in this area. He outlines some of the computer challenges and solutions which they faced as well as the benefits of building your own code.
Learn more about the history of computer technology in Central Florida in this excerpt (7:32) from an oral history interview with Dr. Benjamin Patz on October 31, 2011.
Dr. Benjamin Patz’s scientific contributions to our area include working in the GENESYS Program at Cape Canaveral, Lockheed Martin, teaching at the Naval Training Equipment Center, Rollins College, and the University of Central Florida. His students from the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at UCF recall Professor Patz as a patient teacher who spent diligent time with everyone, undergraduate or graduate. In the GENESYS Program at the Cape his students were people working at Martin Marietta and NASA. Dr. Patz says, “They had interesting problems they would discuss with you… It was a good chance to go over control systems, electromagnetic fields, the boundary value problems.”