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Dec 10 2013

NCSU Libraries Captures Video Oral Histories of Computer Simulation Pioneers

News Release

NCSU Libraries Captures Video Oral Histories of Computer Simulation Pioneers with National Science Foundation Grant

Media Contact:
David Hiscoe, 919-513-3425

December 9, 2013


The NCSU Libraries, in collaboration with the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University and with support from the National Science Foundation, is pleased to present a new video oral history archive of noted computer simulation pioneers. The video oral histories are the latest addition to the Libraries’ Computer Simulation Archive, established in 2003, and feature leaders in the field of computer simulation such as Nobel Prize winner Harry M. Markowitz, Stanford University Emeritus Professor Donald E. Knuth, Syracuse University Professor Emeritus Robert G. Sargent, NC State Distinguished Alumni Richard E. Nance, and NC State Professor James R. Wilson.

The Computer Simulation Archive and new video oral histories are available for viewing at and will be featured during a panel session at this year’s Winter Simulation Conference in Washington, D.C., which is held from December 8 -11. The Winter Simulation Conference is the premier international forum for simulation practitioners and researchers in the field of dynamic systems modeling and simulation.
The Computer Simulation Archive is supported by an endowment to facilitate the addition of more collections, expedite processing of materials in the archive, and enable the digitization of selected materials documenting the history of computer simulation. With the assistance of simulation scholars, the NCSU Friends of the Library, and individual donors, the Archive continues to develop, providing researchers with valuable insights into the history of the field. Supporters of the Archive include the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Informs Simulation Society.

The purpose of this NSF grant initiative is to capture and preserve accounts of seminal projects, related pivotal events, and distinguished project contributors from the perspectives of individuals who witnessed the history of computer simulation firsthand. These video oral histories build on the archival collections and audio oral histories already included in the Archive.

Computer simulation was established as a separate discipline of research and practice during the mid-1950s, with many seminal works in the field published from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. Reflecting the diverse backgrounds of the field’s pioneers, simulation encompasses theory, methodology, and practice arising at the interface of applied probability, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, industrial and systems engineering, management, manufacturing engineering, operations research, and statistics.

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at the NCSU Libraries continues to seek the oral histories of computer simulation pioneers in addition to the papers and records of prominent scholars in the history of computing and simulation as well as computer science.

The video oral histories and more information about the project can be accessed at the Computer Simulation Archive homepage at