Japanese Computer Pioneers

Goto EiichiGoto Eiichi

A foreign researcher once asked: "I know three Japanese researchers whose names all coincide with Goto. One who invented the parametron, one who devised Goto Pair, and a last one who searched Magnetic Monople. Which Goto are you" Goto answered "I am all of them". Goto was born in Shibuya, Tokyo on January 26, 1931.

Goto proceeded from Seikei High School to the University of Tokyo, graduated from the Faculty of Science in 1953, spent some years as a graduate student, then became a research assistant in April, 1958. In August 1959, he became an Associate Professor. He spent 1961 at the Department of Electrical Engineering, MIT as a Guest Associate Professor. He was Chief Scientist of the Information Science Laboratory, Riken from May 1968.

Goto has conducted research in various fields. The research on parametron in his young days resulted in his Doctor's Degree from the University of Tokyo. in March, 1962. He served as Vice president of IFIP from 1971 to 1974, as a member of the steering board of the IPSJ several times, and was nominated as an Honorable Member of IPSJ in 1994.

In 1954, when he was a graduate student of Professor Takahasi's Laboratory, Goto invented a majority logic element, the parametron, which utilized parameter excitation, i.e. the oscillation phases of the LC circuit would settle in one of two stable states. Moreover, he invented dual frequency memory fit parametron circuits and word selection methods using error correcting codes. As the parametron and memory system seemed very promising, construction of the Parametron Computer was started in April, 1957. The first Parametron Computer, PC-1, was completed in March, 1958. Immediately after, Goto initiated the more advanced machine, PC-2, which was built by Fujitsu, Ltd.

While conducting this research on theory and application of parametrons, he soon found the switching characteristics of the Esaki Diode, which was announced in 1957, and proposed the Goto Pair, an ultra high speed logical element, similar to the parametron. Goto succeeded with experiments to show the operation of these devices.

Goto had been interested in magnetic monopoles. Therefore, he studied the theory and conducted experiments to discover the magnetic monopole, while doing research on computers. Later, he studied the discovery of fractionally charged electrons.

Hashing was one of his hobbies. He applied hashing on the symbol manipulation language, LISP, announcing so called HLISP. He proposed parallel hashing for searching and realization by hardware.

His interest in computer graphics lead him to the invention of the Double-Deflection High Precision CRT and a high resolution image memory tube based on the Moving Objective Lens Scheme. The Moving Objective Lens Scheme opened a new field in electronic geometry optics, and was widely used in a focusing-deflection system for electron beam exposure systems. Goto also proposed and realized a variable shaped beam scheme which enabled the high performance electron beam exposure system.

The FLATS project aimed to develop dedicated algebra manipulation hardware satisfying his desire for algebra manipulation using digital computers. The FLATS machine possessed the forementioned parallel hash search circuit as well as special hardware to effectively perform the algebra manipulations.

Goto invented a quantum flux parametron (QFP), an ultra high speed logical element, based on the Josephson junction phenomena in the cryogenic state. He promoted this research as a leader of JST's Goto Quantum Magneto-Flux Logic Project.

He died on June 12, 2005.

(Wada and Soma)
(As of Aug. 26, 2005)