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Astrahan, Morton M. (Morton Michael), 1924-1988



  • Existence: 1924 - 1988


Morton Michael Astrahan was born on December 5, 1924 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Benjamin and Ann Astrahan. After attending several high schools in Chicago and in Texas and graduating from Roosevelt High School in Chicago, IL, he enrolled in Purdue University's School of Engineering in 1942. He transferred to Northwestern's Technological Institute after only two semesters at Purdue, and he received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern in 1945. For his graduate study Astrahan attended the California Institute of Technology, where he earned a Master of Sciences in Electrical Engineering in 1946. He returned to Northwestern University in the Fall of 1946, where he worked as a research engineer in Northwestern's Microwave Lab. In January of 1947 Astrahan began work on his doctorate in Electrical Engineering at Northwestern and was awarded a Ph.D. in June 1949.

After earning his doctorate, Astrahan was employed by the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he was involved in projects such as the IBM 701 project and the SAGE Air defense System Project. In 1956, Astrahan moved to San Jose, California to work in IBM's Advanced Systems Development Division Laboratory. Beginning in 1962, he spent two years in France as the Senior Technical Advisor to the Manager of European Laboratories. Astrahan was employed by IBM until his death in 1988.

In addition to the many accomplishments in his field while at IBM, Astrahan was also involved in several professional information processing and computer-related organizations. He was a founding member of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS), an umbrella organization which encompassed previously existing organizations, including the National Joint Computer Conference (NJCC) Committee, which Astrahan chaired between 1956 and 1958. After the founding of the AFIPS in 1961, Astrahan served as the organization's Finance Chairman, and from 1966 through 1969 he chaired the successor committee to the NJCC Committee, the Joint Computer Conference Committee (JCC).

Astrahan was awarded the AFIPS Distinguished Service Award in 1975. In addition to participating in committees, Astrahan was also known for his documentation of the work on the SAGE system, and spent several years (1979-1983) writing an article on it for the AFIPS Annal. Throughout his career he had published papers in various engineering and computer-related periodicals.

Astrahan married Joann Schwartz and the couple had two children: Melvin Alan and Syril Ann. He died on June 2, 1988 in San Jose, California at the age of 63.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Morton M. Astrahan (1924-1988) Papers

Identifier: 55/35

The papers of Morton M. Astrahan (1924-1988) two boxes and span the period 1945-1988. These papers principally document his involvement with the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, and his work with the IBM corporation. The materials are organized into five major categories: biographical materials, personal correspondence, work-related materials, research files, papers and reports, and published articles.

Dates: 1945-1988