Elected: 1969
Discipline: Informatics, Mathematics and Statistics
Professor Sidney Michaelson FRSE FIMA FSA FBCS
Sidney Michaelson, Professor of Computer Science and ‘Founding Father’ of computing at the University of Edinburgh, had been troubled by his health for some time, when he died suddenly on 21st February 1991 at the age of 65.

Sidney was born on 5th December 1925 and was brought up in the East End of London. He gained his university education by winning a scholarship to Imperial College, London and graduated in 1946 with a First Class Honours Degree in Mathematics. After a series of research jobs at Imperial College and at the Electrical Research Association Laboratories, he was appointed to a Lectureship in Mathematics at Imperial College in 1949. Throughout the 1950s, he worked in Numerical Analysis. Soon, the inadequacy of the available calculating devices led him naturally to his second interest, the design and construction of digital computers; here he worked closely with K D Tocher. Although the only technology available to them was very elementary (Post Office relays and uniselectors), they built a working machine (ICCE1) based on a principle, subsequently known as microprogramming, which has become a cornerstone of the design of almost all digital computers. An extensive library of programs for numerical computations was developed. Also involved at this stage was Tony Brooker, a life-long friend of Sidney’s from the first days of their mathematics undergraduate course together and subsequently Professor of Computer Science at the University of Essex.

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