Olsen, Kenneth

Olsen, Kenneth (Harry)

(1926–  ) electrical engineer; born in Bridgeport, Conn. He helped build WHIRLWIND and SAGE, two early computers, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory (1950–57). He also supervised the building of the transistorized digital computers TX-O and TX-2. In 1957 he founded and became president of the Digital Equipment Corporation, producing the PDP series of computers. In 1977 he introduced VAX (Virtual Address Extension) machines, and in the 1980s, a series of VAX minicomputers. Digital became one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world, but after the recession of the 1980s struck, he resigned as president and CEO of Digital in 1992.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.