Gene Amdahl

Gene Myron Amdahl ( born November 16, 1922 in Flandreau, South Dakota, United States) is a living in the U.S. computer architect and hi-tech entrepreneur Norwegian descent. International recognition he came through his work in the field of mainframes at IBM and later founded his company, especially Amdahl Corporation. He also formulated the Amdahl's law, a model of the acceleration of programs by parallel execution.


Childhood and education

Amdahl was born as the son of immigrants in Flandreau, South Dakota. During the 2nd World War he served in the Navy. In 1948 he completed his studies in technical physics at South Dakota State University. Subsequently, he studied theoretical physics at the University of Wisconsin and received his PhD in 1952 with the design of its first computer, the WISC. In June of the same year he participated in a well-paid position at IBM.

IBM & Amdahl

At IBM, Amdahl worked on the development of the IBM 704 and the IBM 709 Furthermore, he was involved in the Stretch project, which formed the basis for the IBM 7030. In December 1955, he left IBM for the first time. After that, he was employed by Ramo Wooldridge and Aeronutronic. In September 1960 he returned to IBM to work on the development of System/360-Familie. In 1965 he was appointed IBM Fellow and Head of the ACS Laboratory in Menlo Park, California. The second time he left IBM in September 1970, because his ideas were rejected. With the support of Fujitsu, he founded Amdahl Corporation in Sunnyvale, California and went into the mainframe market. In 1975, he returned from his first machine - the Amdahl 470 V6. This was a compatible, cheaper and more efficient replacement of the System/360 165 The Amdahl 470 V6 and the associated peripherals from other manufacturers made ​​it possible for companies to perform System/360-Applikationen without having to order the then very expensive IBM hardware.

1979 until today: Amdahl of entrepreneurs

Amdahl left in August 1979 his company to establish Trilogy system. With over $ 200 million of capital was the goal of the company to design even cheaper chips for mainframe computers. Within months of the 60- million dollar IPO of the company the project failed. The company now shifted its efforts in the area of ​​VLSI technology. Even these efforts were doomed to failure - the company merged in 1985 with the Elxsi Corporation. Also Elxsi developed poorly, and so left the company in 1989 Amdahl However, in 1987 he founded another company -. Andor International. In this he sat now his hopes to take in the mainframe market through improved production techniques and smaller, more efficient machine foot. Production problems and the strong competitive pressure led the company into bankruptcy in 1995.

Thus, Amdahl founded in 1996 together with others company Commercial Data Server (CDS ), also in Sunnyvale in order to continue to participate in the mainframe market. This company focused on super- cooled processors for physically smaller, compact machine. One of these machines, the CDS produced in 1997, was the ESP/490 ( Enterprise Server platform ), a development of the IBM P/390. The company is now known as XBridge system and has other priorities - it produces networking software such as Data Host Connect to connect mainframe and open systems. Since March 2005, Amdahl is not called as a member of management on the homepage of XBridge.

In November 2004, Amdahl member of the Board of Advisors of Massively Parallel Technologies. It is believed that he has largely withdrawn from the industry and focuses more on its advisory role.


1965 Amdahl was appointed IBM Fellow. It was in 1967 a member of the National Academy of Engineering and in 1986 he was named Alumnus of the century, the South Dakota State University. He has registered several patents under his name and receive a total of four honorary doctorates. In 1976 he received the W. Wallace McDowell Award and the 1987 Eckert - Mauchly Award.