Japanese Computer Pioneers

Goto MochinoriGoto Mochinori

Goto Mochinori was born on February 10, 1905, and graduated from Department of Electrical Engineering, School of Engineering of Tokyo Imperial University in 1927. Following the graduation, he joined Electrotechnical Laboratory of Ministry of Communications, and began his career as research scientist with ETL's Third Division that was later renamed as Power Engineering Research. Goto was awarded a degree of Ph. D in Engineering from Tokyo Imperial University in 1934. In 1948, he was appointed Director of Power-Engineering Research Division, and promoted to the General Director of ETL in 1952. In 1960, he was appointed the General Director of the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) that governed various MITI Laboratories including the ETL. In 1961, he retired from the AIST, and was appointed Professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology. In 1965, retiring from it, he was appointed Professor of Meiji University.

Goto was not only a power-engineering scientist but also an excellent mathematician. He was interested in the Oohashi Kan-ichi's theory on electric relay circuits that took the delay times of electric relays into account. Oohashi was several years senior to Goto, and had been the General Director of ETL until 1945. Oohashi's theory required solving a functional equation that included time as an explicit variable. Oohashi introduced a unique operator method to solve this equation, but was not successful.

Goto's approach to this problem was to expand the Boolean algebra by introducing delay time as one of logic functions. Goto called this expanded Boolean algebra "Logic Mathematics." He succeeded, with the use of logic mathematics, in representing behavior of relay circuit as a function of time by solving an equation including an unknown logic function. This enabled analyzing and constructing logic circuits only with the use of logic calculations. Komamiya Yasuo of the ETL applied Goto's method to electric relay computing circuits that became the basis of the ETL Mark I and Mark II relay computers.

Between April 1963 and March 1965, Goto served as the President of the Information Processing Society of Japan, and was awarded an honorary membership in 1975. He served as the second Chairman, following Maeda Ken-ichi, of the Electronic Computer Research Committee of the Institute of Electrical Communication Engineers from 1958 to 1965. This Committee established in 1953 was the place where many important papers on early Japanese computers were first published and discussed.

Goto was conferred the Order of the Secret Treasure, Gold and Silver Star.
Goto died on February 12, 1992.

(Takahashi Shigeru)