Fermilab History and Archives Project

This Day in Fermilab History: October 1, 1989


October 1, 1989: The Computing Division's beginning

(You can also view the original October 1, 2014 Fermilab Today article)

Computing Division heads

Heads of Fermilab computing since 1989. Top row, from left: Tom Nash (Computing Division head, 1989-1994), Joel Butler (Computing Division head, 1994-1998), Matthias Kasemann (Computing Division head, 1998-2002). Bottom row, from left: Vicky White (Computing Division/Sector head, 2002-2013), Rob Roser (Computing Sector head/CIO, 2014).

Twenty-five years ago today, the Fermilab Research Division's Computing Department merged with the Advanced Computer Program group and some personnel from other departments to form the Computing Division. The creation of this new division recognized the increasing importance of computing at the lab. In the November/December, 1989 Fermilab Report, the first head of the Computing Division, Tom Nash, stated that "[The Division's] driving goal is to establish a major center of excellence in the operation and development of computing and data acquisition for high-energy physics. This is the key pillar of Fermilab's long-term future." The new Computing Division comprised five departments: the Central Computing Department (led by Peter Cooper), the Distributed Computing Department (led by Al Thomas), the Data Acquisition Support Department (led by Vicky White), the Data Acquisition Electronics Department (led by Ed Barsotti), and the Computing R&D Department (led by Joe Biel). Jack Pfister, Joel Butler, and Irwin Gaines served as associate division heads.

You can read more about the beginnings of the Computing Division on pages 65 and 66 of the October-November, 1989 issue of the Fermilab Computing Division Newsletter and on pages 1 and 3 of the November 24, 1989 issue of FermiNews. You can also learn more about the history of computing at Fermilab on the History and Archives Project's finding aids for the Dave Ritchie Papers and Computing Publications. This month's issue of Computing Bits celebrates the Computing Division's 25th anniversary.