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February 1999

Gil Green, 1943-1998

Long-time NCAR employee Gil Green died on 30 December in Boulder. Gil spent 20 years as a systems programmer in SCD before retiring in 1991.

In the early 1960s, Gil completed a five-year engineering degree at the University of Wyoming in three years. His connection to NCAR began shortly thereafter while he worked for Control Data Corporation, which supplied some of NCAR's first mainframe machines. As a regional expert for Control Data, Gil was flown into sites around the country to help solve hardware problems.

In his 1989 history of NCAR supercomputing, Paul Rotar recalls a glitch upon arrival of the CDC 6600 in December 1965. Slow positional disk access of the 6600 severely inhibited performance, so four drums were ordered separately from the 6600 to solve this problem. In Paul's words, "The drums were a particularly interesting challenge because Control Data staff had told us that they could not be made to work on a CDC 6600. Only one byte per revolution was moved. The drums stood in mute testimony to our folly until Gil Green, then a Control Data regional technical representative, changed the interlace in the drum controller to permit every other byte to be skipped, which better matched the data channel's speed." This provided the 6600 with a superb response time, and the machine served NCAR for the next 12 years.

After Gil came to NCAR in 1971, his career emphasis shifted from hardware to software. One of Gil's best friends was Gene Schumacher, the former head of SCD's Supercomputer Systems Group, who met Gil while both were with Control Data. "He was incredibly smart--he really knew computers," says Gene. "We collaborated on a few things where we'd each do a part of a software project and bring the parts together. As a professional colleague, he was superb." On and off the job, Gene recalls, "Gil was so generous with his own time. I'd get some cockeyed home-improvement project going, he'd come over, and we'd work it through, whether it was putting up sheetrock, tearing out concrete, or whatever. He was always right there to help and work it out."

Gil's interests beyond the workplace also included gardening, woodworking, bowling, and fishing. He is survived by his wife, NCAR switchboard operator Judy Green; four children, including Belinda Housewright (SCD); a sister; and a grandson. Donations in Gil's name may be sent to Rainbow Day Care and/or the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church Scholarship Fund, both of 3485 Stanford Court, Boulder. •BH


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