About Me

What I do:

I build to learn and learn to build. I grew up in a machine shop, designing and building concrete things. Then I began to program computers, designing and building abstract things - computer programs. 

Next I built the innermost parts of computers - the operating system - that sequences the computer resources and runs programs, and services for users - compilers that make programs, big programs such as databases for storing and analyzing data, and networks that tie all these resources together - sometimes inside one computer, sometimes across the world and even into space.

Now retired [hah!], I study to satisfy my curiosity. As Dorothy Parker said: "Boredom can be cured by curiosituy. There is no cure for curiosity."


60 years ago, I used telephone rotary relay switches like this to automate textile machines by soldering programs onto these contacts. Although hardware is now billions of times faster, programming has not advanced significantly since then.


Then later in the 1960s I programmed the first super computer.
Here is a link to a great video wih lots of pictures of the CDC 6600

CHW CC CDC 6600-6400

Charles Warlick, in the suit, was Director of the Computation Center - University of Texas at Austin in the 1960s & 70s. Under his leadership, we created leading edge software while  supplying the academic needs of a large university.

Later in Austin, I headed up a development center for a computer manufacturer and then founded a company manufacturing a UNIX computer of my own.


FROM relays  -- TO the first supercomputer -- and BEYOND!

The Control Data 6600 was called the first supercomputer. It was ten times faster than anything else in the 1960s, costing $8.5 million 1966 dollars = about $60 million today - 2014. It took thirty of us - electrical engineers, physicists and mathematicians - to keep it going. It was famous for doing MEGAFLOPs - milllions of floating point operations per second.

Today's iPhones are thousands of times faster and anybody can use them - plus they go in your pocket and run off batteries!

There is now enough technology sitting on the shelf to do almot anything we can imagine. As Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge."


Lessons I have learned:

  1. Simpler is better.

  2. Use the simplest solution - not the most complex.

  3. Do the minimum to get the job done - not the maximum.

  4. If a feature is not absolutely necessary - eliminate it.

  5. The most profitable feature of any product is quality. 

Contact: Gareth Harris at 505-358-6668, 

or email: garethharris@mac.com

© Gareth Harris 2019        -         Contact email: GarethHarris@mac.com         -         see also: SentimentalStargazer.com