William Norris

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Medicine

Advancement of micro electronics and computer technology and creation of one of the Fortune 500 - Control Data Corporation - which has over $5 billion in annual sales and over 50,000 employees.

Advancement of micro electronics and computer technology and creation of one of the Fortune 500 - Control Data Corporation - which has over $5 billion in annual sales and over 50,000 employees.

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Birth
July 14, 1911
Age Awarded
75
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Introduction of the First Supercomputer
Awarded by
Ronald Wilson Reagan
Education
University of Nebraska
Areas of Impact
Communication & Information
Affiliations
Control Data Corporation
I

In 1957, William Norris left his engineering job to found the Control Data Corporation. Under his leadership and vision, CDC grew to become a fierce competitor of IBM-- the dominant computer maker at the time. The company thrived by making machines that underpriced and outperformed IBM products.

Under the design leadership of Seymour Cray, CDC designed what would become the CDC 6600, recognized as the world’s first supercomputer. Twenty years later, the corporation posted a peak of $5 billion in annual revenues and had a global workforce of 60,000.

“Sometimes you just have to beat hell out of a problem in order to get on top of it,” Norris was quoted in an interview in 1986. Norris’ vision went beyond just technology. He established plants in impoverished inner-city neighborhoods and remote rural settings to provide much-needed jobs and boost local economies. Norris supports programs to bring new technology to small family farms and businesses. 

By Jennifer Santisi

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