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Willis Ware, engineer built early computers, predicted rise of PCs

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Updated: December 30, 2013 12:14PM

Willis Ware, a former Rand Corp. engineer who helped build early computers in the 1940s and ’50s and predicted the importance of PCs long before they became ubiquitous, has died. He was 93.

Mr. Ware was on the team at Princeton University that built the IAS machine, one of the world’s first electronic computers, in the late 1940s. He joined Rand in 1952 to help build the Johnniac, another early computer that was based on the IAS.

Rand spokesman Jeffrey Hiday said that Mr. Ware died Friday at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.

Much of Mr. Ware’s research focused on the use of computers, both by society at large and the military, according to Rand Corp., where Mr. Ware spent more than 55 years.

“Willis helped usher Rand into the computer era at a time when computers existed mostly in the realm of science fiction,” said Michael D. Rich, Rand’s president and CEO, in a statement. “He was ahead of his time in thinking about the profound effects that computers could have on information privacy.”

Mr. Ware is survived by two daughters, Deborah and Alison, son David, and their spouses, Edwin Pinson, Thomas Manoli, and Astrid Erling and granddaughters Arielle and Victoria Manoli.


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