David Gelernter Explained
David Hillel Gelernter (born 1955) is an eminent artist, writer, and professor of computer science at Yale University. He is a former national fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and senior fellow in Jewish thought at the Shalem Center, and sat on the National Endowment for the Arts. He publishes widely in the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, LA Times, Weekly Standard, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, and elsewhere. His paintings have been exhibited in New Haven and Manhattan.
His book Mirror Worlds (1991) "prophesied the rise of the World Wide Web." Bill Joy, founder and Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems, says Gelernter is "one of the most brilliant and visionary computer scientists of our time.” The New York Times called him a computer science "rock star". His latest book, Judaism (2009), is "one of the most original interpretations of Judaism I have ever read" (Michael Novak) and "a new Psalter" (Cynthia Ozick).
Gelernter received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in classical Hebrew literature from Yale University in 1976 and his Ph.D. from S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook in 1982.
In the 1980s, he made seminal contributions to the field of parallel computation, specifically the tuple space coordination model, as embodied by the Linda programming system. Bill Joy cites Linda as the inspiration for many elements of JavaSpaces and Jini.
In 1993, Gelernter was critically injured opening a mailbomb sent by the Unabomber. He recovered from his injuries but his right hand and eye were permanently damaged. He chronicled the ordeal in his 1997 book Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber.
He helped found the company Mirror Worlds Technologies, which in 2001 released Scopeware software using ideas from his 1992 book Mirror Worlds. Gelernter believed that computers can free users from being filing clerks by organizing their data. The company announced it would "cease operations effective May 15, 2004". A related company Mirror Worlds, LLC recently had their patent infringement verdict against Apple, Inc. overturned in the Eastern District of Texas.
In 2003, he was nominated to and became a member of the National Council on the Arts. In 2006, Gelernter joined the scientific advisory board of the Lifeboat Foundation.
Gelernter contributes to magazines such as City Journal, The Weekly Standard, and Commentary which are generally considered neoconservative. For seven months, he contributed a weekly op-ed column to the LA Times.
- With David Padua and Alexandru Nicolau. Language and Compilers for Parallel Computing. Hardcover ed. Mass. Instit. of Tech. Pr., 1990.
- With Suresh Jagannathan. Programming Linguistics. Hardcover ed. Mass. Instit. of Tech., 1990.
- With Nicholas Carriero. How to Write Parallel Programs: A first course. Hardcover ed. Mass. Instit. of Tech. Pr., 1990.
- Mirror Worlds: or the Day Software Puts the Universe in a Shoebox...How It Will Happen and What It Will Mean. 1st ed. Oxford Univ. Pr., 1992.
- The Muse in the Machine: Computerizing the Poetry of Human Thought. Hardcover ed. MacMillan, Inc., 1994.
- 1939: the Lost World of the Fair. Paperback ed. HarperCollins Pub., 1996.
- Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber. Hardcover ed. Simon & Schuster Adult Pub. Group, 1997.
- The Aesthetics of Computing. Paperback ed. Phoenix (Orion Books Ltd, UK), 1998.
- Machine Beauty: Elegance and the Heart of Technology. Paperback ed. Perseus Pub., 1998.
- Americanism: The Fourth Great Western Religion. Hardcover ed. Doubleday., 2007.
- Judaism: A Way of Being. Yale University Press, 2009.
Notes and References
- John Markoff, technology writer and New York Times reporter in an interview with David Gelernter
- Schwartz, John. New Economy; Selling a Vision of the Future beyond Folders. NY Times, 7/2/01
- Reviews of Judaism at http://www.amazon.com/Judaism-Being-David-Hillel-Gelernter/dp/0300151926
- News: Apple Challenges Big Award Over Patents. Professor Gelernter, a renowned technology pioneer, sustained serious injuries to his right hand and eye from an explosive package sent to him in 1993 by Theodore Kaczynski, known as the Unabomber.. New York Times. October 4, 2010. 2010-10-05.