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Isle resident blazed trail writing computer books

  • FAMILY PHOTO

    Eric Alan Weiss

Eric Alan Weiss, a Kaneohe resident who was a pioneer in writing computer textbooks as well as papers and publications detailing the history of the industry, died Sunday at Pohai Nani Good Samaritan Retirement Community. He was 99.

Working with cutting- edge inventors, Weiss wrote seven computer textbooks, most published by McGraw-Hill in the 1960s, about how to program large-scale computers.

“Eric personally knew and communicated with the first digital computer inventors,” said his nephew, Paul Nelson. “He helped many of them record their history.”

In the 1980s Weiss worked as computer historian and served 16 years as biography editor for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

He received the Distinguished Service Award from the Association for Computer Machinery as chairman of its publications department.

In 1941 at age 24, Weiss was assigned to Pearl Harbor as an electrical engineer working for the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, helping to develop technology that could allow ships to avoid magnetic mines and torpedoes.

He also helped work on experimental projects looping wires in Pearl Harbor to detect enemy submarines, his family said.

After the war he worked as an executive for the Sun Oil Co.

Weiss was born in Jersey City, N.J.

He is survived by wife Helen and son Carter Alan Weiss.

Funeral services are private, and the family asks that donations be made in his name to the Charles Babbage Institute, a repository for the history of information technology, at www.cbi.umn.edu. Weiss’ papers will be archived at the institute.

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