Erich Bloch

Born January 9, 1925; headed the IBM development of the Solid Logic technology program, which provided IBM with the microelectronics technology for its System/360 computer.

Education: BS, electrical engineering, University of Buffalo, 1952.

Professional Experience: IBM Corp., 1952-1984; director, National Science Foundation, 1984-1990; distinguished fellow, Council on Competitiveness, 1990-present.

Honors and Awards: IBM Patent Award, 1961; National Medal of Technology, 1985; IEEE United States Activities Board Award for Distinguished Public Service, 1989; IEEE Founders Medal, 1990; member, National Academy of Engineering; fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science; fellow, IEEE.

Bloch, a native of Germany, moved to Switzerland at the age of 14. There he obtained his pre-college education and studied electrical engineering for 2 years at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology before emigrating to the US in 1948. Taking courses at night and working days as a research assistant in an industrial laboratory, Bloch obtained a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Buffalo. He joined IBM in January 1952 and soon developed the first ferrite-core storage units used in commercial products. Later he initiated development of the company's first ferrite-core memory with over 1 million bits.

Subsequently, while serving as engineering manager for the high-performance Stretch computer, he became involved in the development of the SMS circuit and packaging technology. In 1962, he headed development of the Solid Logic Technology program, which provided IBM with the microelectronics technology for its System/360 computer. Subsequently, Bloch was appointed a vice president of the company's Data Systems Division and general manager of the East Fishkill facility, which was responsible for the development and manufacture of semi-conductor components used in IBM's product line. He was elected as IBM vice president in 1981. From 1981 to 1984, Bloch served as chairman of the Semiconductor Research Cooperative, a group of leading computer and electronics firms that funded advanced research in universities. He was also the IBM representative on the board of the Semiconductor Industry Association. In 1985, B.O. "Bo" Evans, Fred Brooks, and Eric Bloch received the National Medal of Technology at a White House ceremony for their work in developing the IBM System/360, described as "revolutionizing the industry." After leaving IBM in 1984 he served as director of the National Science Foundation until 1990. In 1989 Bloch was the recipient of the IEEE United States Activities Board Award for Distinguished Public Service and the 1990 IEEE Founders Medal. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. [From Pugh, Emerson W., Lyle R. Johnson and John H. Palmer, IBMs 360 and Early 370,Syslems, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1991.]


Significant Publications

Bloch, E., "The Engineering Design of the Stretch Computer," Proc. EJCC, Boston, 1959, pp. 48-58.

Bloch, E., "Magnetic Core Logic in a High Speed Card to Tape Converter," IRE Transactions on Electronic Computers, Vol. EC 8, No. 2, June 1959.

Bloch, E., "The Engineering Design of the STRETCH Computer," Proc. EJCC, pp. 48-58; revised as chapter, Planning a Computer System, by Buchholz, McGraw Hill, 1962; reprinted as Part 2, Section 1, Chapter 34, Bell/Newe1l, Computer Structures, McGraw-Hill, New York, 197 1.

Bloch, E., "Advances in Circuit Technology and Their Impact on Computer Systems," Proc. IFIP, 1968.

Bloch, E., "Component Progress--Its Impact on Systems Architecture and Machine Organization," High Speed Computer and Algorithm Organization J, Academic Press, New York, 1977, pp. 13-39.

Bloch, E., "High Performance, Large Scale Computers," The Financial Analysts Federation and the Los Angeles Society of Financial Analysts, March 7, 1978.

Bloch, E., "Component Progress: Its Effect on High-Speed Computer Architecture and Machine Organization," Computer, Vol. 11, No. 4, Apr. 1978, pp. 64-75.

Bloch, E., "VLSI and Computers: Challenge and Promise," Computers, 1980.

Bloch, E., "Semiconductor Research Cooperative," Chapter 10, Global Stakes--The Future of High Technology in America, by Botkin, Dimancescu, and Stata; Ballinger Press, 1982.

Bloch, E., "Semiconductor Research Cooperative," IEEE Spectrum, Nov. 1983.

Bloch, E., "Manufacturing Technologies," The Bridge, National Academy of' Engineering, Vol. 15, No. 3, Fall 1985, pp. 10-15.

Bloch, E., "The NSF Role in Fostering University-Industry Research Relationships," IEEE Trans. Eng. Education, Fall/Winter 1985.

Bloch, E., "Managing for Challenging Times: A National Research Strategy," Issues in Science and Technology, Vol. 2, No. 2, 1986, pp. 20-29.

Bloch, E., "Basic Research in a Modern Society," The Royal Society /or the Encouragement of Arts Manufactures and Commerce J., Vol. 134, No. 5357, Apr. 1986, pp. 286-298.

Bloch, E., "Science: Not for Experts Only," syndicated by the National Academy Press Service, May 1986.

Bloch, E., "Basic Research and Economic Health: The Coming Challenge," Science , Vol.232, May 1986, pp. 595-599.

Bloch, E., "Science, Technology, and Cultural Change," Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, June 1986.

Bloch, E., "Supercomputing and the Growth of Computational Science in the National Science Foundation," Int'l. J of Supercomputer Applications, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1987, pp. 5-8.

Bloch, E., "Meeting Our Need for Science and Engineering Talent: The Precollege Connection," J. of College Science Teaching, 1987.

Bloch, E., "Basic Research: The Key to Economic Competitiveness," Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1987.

Bloch, E., "The United States Technology Base: Erosion, or a Changing World?," World Link, Jan.-Feb. 1990.


Portrait inserted MRW, 2012.

Erich Bloch died on November 25, 2106, in Washington, DC. (THVV, 2017)

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