CORE by Anonymous
Just in case you've been wondering,
here's some dope on HC...
It's actually Harvey CORE, Jr. Corporate folklore has it that his father,
Harvey CORE, Sr., changed his surname from Abacus to CORE after claiming that
he invented the memory technology used in early computers. Primary memory used to be called magnetic core storage; it was made up of
thousands of "doughnut"-shaped magnetic cores strung together like
beads on a wire. No kidding!
Harvey's great grandfather Harvey Abacus,
Sr. was a contemporary and intimate of Charles Babbage and Ada
Lovelace. Babbage was an English
mathematician in the mid-1800s who designed the Analytical Engine, a precursor to the computer that remarkably set
forth the concepts of an arithmetic unit, storage unit, I/O components, and
punched card automated operation-- a full century before the first working
Ms. Lovelace is reputed to be the
first programmer (it's controversial).
She was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron and the Countess of
Lovelace, Lady Annabella Milkbanke. Ada was also a mathematician who
took an interest in Babbage's contraption.
She wrote a key paper that explained the workings of this conceptual
machine and proposed the use of binary data storage. CORE family lore has it that Harvey Abacus
got the contract for building the darn thing.
But the machine was not successfully built during their lifetimes. The manufacturing technology for the times
was not sophisticated enough to build the gears and shafts to the necessary
In the 1970s the U.S. Department of
Defense (DOD) began the development of a universal language for business,
scientific, mathematical, and engineering applications. The language resembles Pascal and was named Ada, in honor of you know who.
Get this. Herman Hollerith, an American mathematician
in the late 1800s, designed the punched card system for processing the 1890
U.S. Census. He formed a company in 1896
that, in 1924, became International Business Machines. IBM ended up constructing a working model of
the Analytical Engine. It's believed
that Harvey Abacus, Jr. was the chief engineer for the Analytical Engine
project at IBM, thus bringing us full circle.
Harvey's mom is something else too. Dr. Harriet Care got her medical degree at
Yale, but her admiration for Amelia Earhart moved her to chuck the sick for the
stick. She ended up as an experimental
pilot for top-secret government agencies.
Rumor has it that she was chumming around quite a bit with Chuck Yeager
(of rocket-plane fame), but fell for Harvey
senior when he installed an experimental navigational computer in one of her
rocket ships. I understand that she now
resides in some covert department at NASA Houston.
Getting back to Harvey... I first met him in the Aerospace
Engineering program at the University
of Cincinnati. Vaz you ever in Zincinnati? Harvey's Mom and Dad consulted at GE's Large
Jet Engine plant outside of Cincinnati. Harvey took a
liking to the area, especially the mysteries of the Ohio River and its lively
nightlife along the Kentucky
banks. We worked at GE, spending many
nights in the advanced combustion lab, fooling with different
combustion-chamber baffle designs and JPx fuels for
future engines. Harvey was especially into the JP6
aroma. I snorted helium myself. Anyway, we finished our undergrads, worked at
GE for a time, and then went back for our doctorates: He in Aerospace and I in Operations Research
and Finance. We've stayed in touch over
the years, sharing occasional consulting projects and scuba trips. And HC hasn't changed much.
He's kind of mysterious, audacious,
eccentric, and a bit of a loose cannon. Thinks of himself as a kind
of Indiana Jones of mathematics and computing. Rumor has it that he accepts secret missions
from the DOD and various other agencies.
Hence his numerous and mysterious disappearances and
reappearances. He has a special
liking for flying (thanks to Mom) into remote tropical locations. I recently received a communication through
his satellite uplink to his secret website from somewhere in the Caribbean. It
appears that he's on some fancy freighter that's owned and occasionally piloted
by the Captain. The message was somewhat
garbled, but said something to the effect that the Captain is showing him the
ropes. (I think it's
nautical humor, but I'm not sure.) In
return, he's instructing her on piloting his jet-powered chopper. She has a commercial pilot's license, so it
should be a snap for her. Both of them
are fond of cigars from Cuban seed made in the Dominican Republic. Harvey often
tells me that someday he will smoke real Cuban cigars in a free Cuba... and of
the better pre-Castro quality, not today’s inferior contraband versions. By the
way, the Captain is a descendant of Ada herself. Karma or what!