Robert Everett

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Computer Science

For their creative work in developing the technologies and applying computers to real-time applications. Their important contributions proved vital to national and free world defense and opened a new era of world business.

For their creative work in developing the technologies and applying computers to real-time applications. Their important contributions proved vital to national and free world defense and opened a new era of world business.

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Birth
June 26, 1921
Age Awarded
68
Awarded With
Jay Wright Forrester
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Project Whirlwind: Real Time Electronic Computer
Awarded by
George H. W. Bush
Education
Duke University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Areas of Impact
Communication & Information
Affiliations
The MITRE Corporation
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Robert Everett and Jay Forrester met as graduate students in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Together, they pioneered the development of one of the world’s first real-time digital computers.

In 1944, the U.S. Navy contracted Forrester and Everett to develop a universal flight trainer and aircraft simulator. At the time, analog computers required days to work on calculations, and they knew analog computers were not suitable for the task.  They developed a fast, dependable digital computer, known as Whirlwind.

Whirlwind's groundbreaking design laid the foundation for dozens of improvements in computer design, and formed the basis for the U.S. Air Force's Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) air defense system. Whirlwind also laid the groundwork for computers that today control air traffic, operate real-time reservations and banking systems, and keep track of records. 

By Jen Santisi

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