During our February iChime meeting, the legendary Dr. Frank Soltis, who holds multiple hardware patents, took us through the high points and milestones of his fascinating 40-year career as an IBM chief scientist. This included, most notably to many, as chief architect for the AS/400. To record-breaking virtual attendance, he shared stories of evolution and emergence in terms of technological trends, culture, thought processes and cutting-edge machine design as well as insights to his own pioneer mindset and trail-blazing architectural activity.
Dr. Frank shared details of his journey, when, as a newly hired IBM systems architect working on the System/3(X) midrange business platform line, he was tasked with designing its next iteration as chief architect of the System/38. In line with innovation he had entertained while pursuing his Ph.D., Dr. Frank envisioned a single-level store methodology as, in summary, the least complex and most capable, and efficient way to proceed toward the future, especially with speed, adaptability and multiple-user functionality in mind.
When asked what the key to the AS/400’s success early on was, Dr. Frank attributed it largely to user groups, industry conferences, and also credited business-partners and customer advocacy.
Dr. Frank was a most engaging and inspiring guest. As we approached the end of our meeting, many attendees “chimed-in” to personally thank Dr. Frank for the system which launched so many careers. He was certain to remind us all, it was indeed a concerted effort with many, many people to thank; that a project of this scale could never be attributed to any one person. What a wonderful testament to IBM’s management and team collaboration. To read more about Dr. Frank, visit his Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Soltis.
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