Slotnick studied mathematics at Columbia University, where in 1951 he earned his bachelor 's degree and a master's degree in 1952. After that, he was involved in the project of the IAS computer by John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study. In 1954, he began his doctoral studies in New York and was founded in 1956 with Jürgen Moser and Kurt Friedrichs at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University PhD ( Asymptotic Behavior of Solutions of Canonical Systems Near a Closed unstable orbit ) Thereafter, he spent one year at Princeton University and then went to the development laboratory of IBM in Poughkeepsie. There he worked under Rex Rice on minicomputers and published in 1958 with John Cocke one of the first papers on parallel numerical computation. Later, he developed data communication and data processing systems for stock traders.
In 1960 he went to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation for his ideas on parallel computers, which he in his time had been in von Neumann at Princeton, to realize the project Solomon, a SIMD parallel computer with 1024 1-bit processing elements ( each for with memory 128 32- bit words). In 1962 he submitted a patent for parallel computers with a central control unit, which was granted to him in 1966. From 1965 he was professor of computer science (Computer Science) at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign ( UIUC ), where he started the ILLIAC IV project of a parallel computer (supported by Ivan Sutherland, Lawrence G. Roberts). It was built in cooperation with the Burroughs Corporation for NASA, but was due to various problems until operation in 1972 and from 1976 fully functional. He was tried in 1981 out of service. The ILLIAC IV was the time for the special and well- parallelizable problems for which she has mainly been used (numerical hydrodynamics ), the fastest computer in the world ( up to 300 MIPS), in development but by supercomputers such as the Cray 1 in the late 1970s already outdated years. The ILLIAC IV, however, was of great importance for the development of parallel computers in the United States.
Since he was also interested in local development planning, he was in 1975 at the UIUC and professor in the Faculty of Landscape Planning ( Landscape Architecture).