Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Bell, C. Gordon
Location Microsoft Research
Primary Field Computer and Information Sciences
 Election Citation
Bell was the principal architect of the minicomputer revolution. He was a pioneer in multiprocessing, involved in the design of some 30 multiprocessors. The goal of his current work is to collect all of a person's information digitally, creating a surrogate memory of everything one sees and hears in a lifetime.
 Research Interests
Since 2000, I've been working on building and understanding a system that would collect, contain, and utilize all of a person's information including articles, books, correspondence, music, photos, phone calls, and videos including real time capture of various life events e.g. lab experiences, walks, meetings. Our work extends the vision of a Memex posited by Vannevar Bush in 1945. In effect Memex is a system quest for a transaction processing SQL database that can record everything a person sees and hears. It is predicated on the evolving sensing and storage capabilities enabling a lifetime digital store. By having all of a person's transactions with time and other meta-data, the value of the content for retrieval is increased by being able to relate items for retrieval and understanding - in effect, creating a faithful and perfect surrogate memory. A by-product allows for a digital immortality. I am generally interested in technology history as a founder and trustee of the Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA. My interest in scientific computing continues e.g. as a member of the Dept of Energy's Advanced Scientific Advisory Committee (ASCAC) and the introduction of use of databases for communities that were pioneered my colleague Jim Gray.

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