Memories of John W. Tukey:
Maintained by Bell Laboratories, Statistics and Data Mining
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
13 September 2002
the advent of the World Wide Web, individuals and institutions
are now creating Web sites that pay tribute to famous scientists,
humanists, and other individuals. Thoughtfully maintained by
those who were close to the individual, these sites generally
offer a broad, personal look at a distinguished individual's
long career. Memories
of John W. Tukey is such a site.
Briefly, John Tukey was a famous statistician who for most
of his career held a joint appointment at Princeton University
and Bell Telephone Laboratories. His most important contributions
in statistics were in the areas of robust analysis and exploratory
data analysis, although he made broad contributions to other
fields, most notably with the (re)discovery, along with IBMs
James Cooley, of the Fast Fourier Transform. He is also credited
with coining the words bit, byte,
and software, somewhat to the chagrin of those
in computer science who would have wished to do so first.
The site itselfthoughtfully maintained but not excessively
detailed in contentis built primarily around voluntary
tributes contributed by those who knew Tukey. The site also
contains a small collection of digital images, a brief biography,
and a bibliography of Tukeys works. For those unfamiliar
with Tukey, it can be a little difficult to get a quick sense
of his achievements from the sites homepage. The best
place to begin is with the links to the obituaries issued
by The New York Times and Princetons Office of
Communications, which appear at the bottom of the page. [end
of page 1]
Sites such as these are built in memory of specific individuals,
and are not necessarily geared towards historical research.
Historians may, nevertheless, find such sites to be a convenient
place to locate biographical and bibliographic data about specific
individuals. From this point of view, the information contained
at this site seems to be accurate and currently maintained.
[end of page 2]
Atsushi Akera, Memories of John W.
Tukey: Maintained by Bell Laboratories, Statistics and Data
Mining Research Group, Iterations: An Interdisciplinary
Journal of Software History 1 (September 13, 2002): 1-2.
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