C. Gordon Bell (August 19, 1934) is a leading computer engineer and manager, an early employeed of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) who designed several of their PDP machines and later oversaw the development of the VAX.
Born in Kirksville, Missouri, he received a B.S. (1956) and M.S. (1957) in electrical engineering from MIT, then worked in the Tech's Speech Computation Laboratory. An acquaintance of DEC founders Ken Olsen and Harlan Anderson, they recruited him for their new company in 1960, where he designed the I/O subsystem of the PDP-1, PDP-4, PDP-5, and PDP-6.
After making a name for himself at DEC, Bell went to Carnegie-Mellon University in 1966 to teach computer science, but returned to DEC in 1972 as vice-president of engineering, where he was in charge of the VAX, DEC's most successful computer.
Bell retired from DEC in 1983 as the result of a heart attack, but soon after founded Encore Computer Corporation. During the 1980s he became involved with public policy, leading the Computers and Information Science and Engineering directorate of the NSF, and National Research and Education Network. He also established the IEEE Gordon Bell Prize in 1987 to encourage development in parallel processing.
He became chief scientist of Stardent Computer in 1990, and a VP of R&D at Ardent Corporation in 1991.
Between 1991 and 1995 Bell advised Microsoft in its efforts to start a research group, then joined it full time, where he works as of 2003, studying telepresence and related ideas.
He received the IEEE John von Neumann Medal in 1992.
A cofounder of The Computer Museum in 1979, and a founding board member of The Computer History Museum in 1999.
(with Allen Newell) Computer Structures: Readings and Examples (1971)
(with C. Mudge and J. McNamara) Computer Engineering (1978)
(with Dan Siewiorek and Allen Newell) Computer Structures: Readings and Examples (1982)
High Tech Ventures: The Guide for Entrepreneurial Success