Columbia University Computing History   

Eric Hankam at IBM

Author:   Eric V. Hankam
Subject:   Summary of significant activities in my 40-year career with IBM
Period:   November 9, 1945 to September 30, 1985
Links:   • Eric Hankam Memoirs
• Watson Laboratory Three-Week Course on Computing
• Watson Laboratory Gallery
• Computing at Columbia Timeline

Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory at Columbia University (1945-1959)

I taught one hundred eleven computer science classes. The majority of courses were three weeks long, attended by scientifically oriented people from IBM, industry, government, and universities. Among the classes taught by me were one- and two-semester graduate-level Columbia University courses given by the Electrical Engineering and Astronomy Departments. I had responsibilities for the creation and organization of the course material. Topics covered the then current machines, ranging from wired-program calculators to stored-program computers. Over 1600 people from 20 countries came for instruction.

I advised visiting scientists on the use of the Laboratory's computing facilities for their research projects. Machines were used to solve a wide range of computational problems in all branches of science. Researchers came to me for guidance on the application of computational techniques to the solution of their problems. Projects included doctoral dissertations in the fields of astronomy, physics, geophysics, chemistry, crystallography, biology, etc.

I published several technical articles in the IBM Technical Newsletter series edited by the IBM Applied Science Department. I contributed to the compilation of a bibliography on the use of IBM machines in science, statistics and education (see Publication List).

Mathematics and Application Department - The NY Scientific Center (1960-1965)

I participated in the development of a program for a weather forecasting project.

I studied S/360 architecture (prior to its release), and instructed NY Scientific Center scientists on the principles of operations of S/360 hardware.

I taught classes on S/360 architecture and assembler language at the Systems Research Institute (SRI) and, for World Trade, in London and Paris.

I co-authored a paper with Dr. Susan Hahn (for the IBM Systems Journal) on "Kernel Analysis of Elliptical Partial Differential Equations" (see Publication List)

New York Field Systems Center (1966-1967 and 1970-1972)

I provided technical assistance to the field on all aspects of the PL/I high-level programming language, and conducted frequent on-site half-day PL/I seminars.

I taught two-week PL/I courses periodically at customer locations, and at various IBM Education Centers, including classes on advanced PL/I topics in Amsterdam (two classes), Stockholm, and Milan.

Corporate Information Systems Education Department (1968-1969)

Course development:
I developed a PL/I course curriculum, which was the basis for, and eventually evolved into a comprehensive two-week class covering the entire PL/I language. Morning lectures were supplemented by afternoon laboratory sessions.

Course conduction:
I taught PL/I classes for IBM programmers.

New York Advanced Education Center (1973-1980)

PL/I Education:
I taught two-week comprehensive PL/I classes on a monthly basis. I developed and updated my own course material covering current PL/I compilers, and trained students to make effective use of the PL/I language using a structured programming style. Most classes were held in New York City; classes were also given in San Francisco (3), Los Angeles (3), and one each in Chicago, Houston, Washington, Boston, and Cambridge (at M.I.T.).

PL/I Presentations:
I scheduled and conducted numerous half-day PL/I seminars at customer locations, and IBM branch offices on a nation-wide basis. Lecture topics covered both elementary and advanced PL/I features.

PL/I Consultation:
I offered technical assistance to the field, principally by telephone and conference calls, and occasional tutorials.

Corporate Information Systems Education Facility (1981-1985)

PL/I Education:
I taught two-week PL/I Programming classes for IBM programmers. Course topics covered the entire PL/I language as implemented for the Optimizing and Checkout Compilers. Lectures emphasized efficient use of language features adopting a structured programming approach. The course included laboratory workshops with machine time for running student exercises. The course was developed and continuously updated by me. Students were assumed to have a programming background. Most classes were held in New York City; one course a year, in January, was given in Tucson.

PL/I Seminars:
I scheduled and conducted a variety of half-day PL/I seminars on advanced PL/I topics. Classes were scheduled on request, and held on-site at IBM and customer locations. Most popular lectures included subjects on program checkout and program optimization.

Publication List

Appendix: Course statistics and other information

Based on available records and recollection.
Comprehensive courses:
Number of PL/I courses taught 173  attended by 5107 students
Total number of courses taught 293  attended by 6907 students
(This includes 111 Computer Science classes given at the Watson Laboratory at Columbia University, and 9 classes on S/360 architecture. Estimated number of students in those classes is 1800.)

PL/I Seminars:
Number of PL/I seminars conducted on-site 399  
Number of PL/I seminars held at the NYAEC 44  
Total number of PL/I seminars conducted 443  

Post-retirement professional activities:
Number of PL/I courses taught (after retirement) 7 (4 in NYC, 3 in Tucson)
Total number of PL/I courses taught (since 1966) 180
Total number of courses taught (since 1945) 300

Breakdown of on-site PL/I seminars (approximate):

Locality: Organization:
Alabama...1 Industry...257
Arizona...25 Government...49
California...26 Universities...22
Colorado...27 Columbia...2
Connecticut...14 Cornell...2
Delaware...3 Johns Hopkins-Applied Physics Lab.
Distr. of Columbia...15    MIT
Florida...3 NYU
Georgia...3 Penn State
Illinois...5 Princeton...3
Indiana...3 Rutgers...2
Iowa...3 Stanford
Kansas...1 SUNY (Binghamton)
Kentucky...1 University of California (Berkeley)
Maryland...19 University of California (Medical Center)
Massachusetts...18 University of Iowa
Michigan...8 University of Maryland
Minnesota...2 University of Syracuse
Missouri...3 Vassar
Nebraska...2 Yale
New Jersey...47 AT&T...11
New York...126 Bell Labs...9
North Carolina...4 Pacific Bell Tel...5
Ohio...2 NY Tel-Verizon...3
Oklahoma...4 Exxon-Mobil...6
Oregon...1 Union Carbide...6
Pennsylvania...10 CBS...5
Puerto Rico...2 Morgan Guaranty...5
Texas...7 J.P. Morgan Chase Bank...4
Virginia...6 Citibank...3
Washington...2 General Motors...4
West Virginia...3 American Airlines...3
Wisconsin...3 RAND Corporation...3
Central Intelligence Agency...3
National Security Agency...2
Library of Congress...2
Internal Revenue Service
Geological Survey
US Mint
Strategic Air Command
City of Los Angeles...2

Eric V. Hankam / New York, NY / January 1988 / Last Update: 11 Dec 2003
Columbia University Computing History Frank da Cruz / [email protected] This page created: January 2001 Last update: 3 April 2021