Japanese Computer Pioneers

Wada EiitiWada Eiiti

Wada Eiiti(b.1931/06/01) graduated from the Physics Department, the University of Tokyo in 1955.

After joining Professor Takahasi Hidetosi's Laboratory of the Graduate School, he designed and assembled a paper tape controlled calculator employing parameterons. The calculator, having two paper tape readers, processed unquoted parts of the input tape and punched the results on the output tape or copied the quoted parts to the output tape stripping the quotation codes off, swapping readers on receipt of another control code, and, although the system was pretty simple, by so doing could perform rather complex calculations after several passes. He studied the programs and subroutines of the Edsac of the Cambridge University, and was deeply interested in the programming techniques.

During seven years beginning from 1957, he devoted much energy to preparing library programs for the Parametron Computer PC-1, which was constructed at the Takahasi Laboratory, while engaging in developing business program with the Statistics Department of Onoda Cement Ltd. The Initial Input Routine of the PC-1 was quite exquisitely designed such that part of instruction sequence also served as the code conversion table from digit character codes to decimal numbers. This technique shortened the program size and sped up the conversion time to a great extent and was the first hacker product in Japan.

He expressed his computer dreams in a Programming Symposium held in
Atami in 1964,
1) We need small computers for personal use.
2) All the computers in the World must be connected by wires.
These desires were realized in 1980's with the PC's and Internet.

In 1968, when IFIP WG2.1 solicited the new Algorithmic Language, Wada was a member of the design team of Algol N with Iwamura, Yoneda, Simauti and Kakehi. Although Algol N was not chosen as Algol 68, it had many innovative features for describing Programming Languages. He has been the IFIP WG2.1 member since 1972.

From 1977 to 1992, Wada was the chairman of the National Member Body of ISO/TC97 (currently JTC1)/SC2. With many contributions to SC2, he actively worked for character set standardization.

Around 1990, he developed the Chinese character skeleton fonts (known as Wadalab fonts) for 12156 characters in the Japanese Industrial Standards JIS X 0208, 0212 with Tanaka, a graduate student, and others. The algorithmic font design was based on automatic synthesizing using skeleton definitions of primitives, arrangement algorithms, and shaping algorithms. The product was freely available and widely used in the Japanese word processing world.

He proposed a minimal keyboard without cursor keys, function keys etc. called Happy Hacking Keyboard mainly aimed at the Unix environment. This compact keyboard design uses only 60 key tops with the standard key pitch.

  • 1964-1977 Associate Professor, Department of Mathematical Engineering, University of Tokyo.
  • 1977-1992 Professor
  • 1973-1974 He served as an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • 1985-1989 The Director of the Educational Computer Centre, University of Tokyo.
  • He has been a member of the WIDE project.
  • Chairman of the Programming Symposium Committee, IPSJ since 1997.
  • Emeritus Professor of the University of Tokyo.
  • Doctor of Engineering.
  • 1992-2002, Executive Advisor, Fujitsu Laboratories.
  • 2002- Research Director, Research Laboratory, IIJ.

(As of Aug. 29, 2003)