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Gerrit Anne (Gerry) Blaauw (July 17, 1924 - March 21, 2018) was a Dutch computer scientist, known as one of the principal designers of the IBMSystem/360 line of computers, together with Fred Brooks, Gene Amdahl, and others.
After graduation in 1952, Blaauw returned to the Netherlands where he worked at the Mathematical Centre on the second ARRA computer. In 1955 he returned to the United States to work at IBM's Poughkeepsie labs where he worked with Brooks on a number of projects:
He worked on the ill-fated IBM 8000 series, and in particular designed a paging system for the IBM 8106 in the 1960-1961 period.
He was a key engineer on the IBM System/360 project, announced in 1964. Among other contributions, Blaauw made the successful case for an 8-bit (as opposed to 6-bit) computer architecture.
Blaauw also designed a revolutionary address translation system, the "Blaauw Box", which was removed from the original System/360 design, but was later used in IBM's unsuccessful proposal to MIT's Project MAC. Subsequently, Dynamic Address Translation (DAT) hardware of a somewhat different design was incorporated in the important IBM System/360-67 computer. As implemented on the Model 67, DAT hardware allowed the implementation of some of the first practical pagedvirtual memory systems – perhaps the first to be commercially successful. The Model 67 was being used in commercial applications by 1968. The earlier Ferranti Atlas Computer was a seminal platform for paging research, but suffered from well-studied performance issues such as thrashing. Virtual memory address translation capabilities similar to those on the S/360-67 were subsequently included in all models of the IBM System/370 computer line that followed.
Blaauw was a devout Christian who gave particular attention, especially after retirement, to the relationship of science and faith, a topic he explored in a booklet available in English, Dutch and Spanish.
Blaauw, Gerrit A. Hardware requirements for the fourth generation. Fourth Generation Computers. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall (1970).
Blaauw, Gerrit A. Digital system implementation. Prentice Hall PTR, 1976.
Blaauw, Gerrit A., and Frederick P. Brooks Jr. Computer architecture: concepts and evolution. Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc., 1997.
Blaauw, Gerrit A. Scripture and Science: An Unexpected Harmony. 2014. Published online.
Articles, a selection
Brooks, Frederick P., Gerrit A. Blaauw, and Wilfried Buchholz. "Processing data in bits and pieces." IRE Transactions on Electronic Computers 2 (1959): 118-124.
Pugh, Emerson W.; Lyle R. Johnson; John H. Palmer (1991). IBM's 360 and Early 370 Systems. Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press. ISBN0-262-16123-0. [Extensive (819 pp.) treatment of IBM's offerings during this period. Blaauw is mentioned on numerous pages.]