Campbell discusses his work at the Harvard Computation Laboratory and his subsequent career in computing. The interview begins with a description of Campbell's early life, through his graduate education in physics at Columbia and Harvard. He recounts how Howard Aiken chose him to work with IBM on the latter stages of design of the Mark I calculator while Aiken was on active duty in the Navy in Virginia. Campbell describes what he learned from Aiken about the plans for the Mark I in the late 1930s and the arrangement reached with IBM to build the computer. He assesses the relative contributions of Harvard and IBM to the Mark I project based on his own experience at IBM's research facility at Endicott, NY. He then describes the formation of the Harvard Computation Laboratory, the operation of the Mark I there, and the work beginning in 1945 on the Mark II calculator for Dahlgren Naval Proving Ground. Topics covered include the controversy between Aiken and IBM, Aiken's personality, Aiken as an educator, and Aiken's attitude toward the computer industry.
The second half of the interview covers Campbell's later career at Raytheon (1947-1949), especially the search for adequate storage devices and RAYDAC installation at Point Mugu, CA; at Burroughs (1949-1966) in his position as director of research and in a staff position for program planning; and at MITRE (1966-1984) on long-range planning with the Air Force, and project work on a data processing system for the state of Massachusetts and the city of Newton, MA.
Robert V. D. Campbell, OH 67. Oral history interview by William Aspray, 22 February 1984, Concord, Massachusetts. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. http://purl.umn.edu/107210
Transcript, 76 pp. Audio file available at http://purl.umn.edu/95247
Campbell, Robert V. D..
Oral history interview with Robert V. D. Campbell.
Charles Babbage Institute.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
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