Steve Teicher, World-Renowned Computing Pioneer and Icon

This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Steve Teicher, World-Renowned Computing Pioneer and Icon.

Take a few moments to scan Steve’s background and then have a look at the interview topic index. It will be well worth your time. Steve has considerable insights to share from his many leadership and innovation roles.

Stephen Ibaraki,
FCIPS, I.S.P., MVP , DFNPA, CNP, Advanced Technology

A Brief History...Steve Teicher

  1. BS degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT 1966.

  2. Worked 3 years for MIT with the Division of Sponsored Research on Project INTREX.

  3. Developed hardware systems for automated library.


  4. Joined Digital in August 1969 in PDP-12 Group.

  5. Developed first floating-point processor for mini-computer. It was a real 24-bit computer that attached to the PDP-8 i/o bus in the PDP-12.

  6. Joined a committee to develop a product to compete with the Data General 16-bit Nova. Established that the PDP-11 architecture could fit the cost and size requirements and became project manager for the PDP-11/05 effort.

  7. Proposed and developed the LSI-11 which was the first 16-bit nmos computer built. This was developed along with an outside vendor, Western Digital. Eventually the LSI-11 was produced by Digital as WD pursued a different business. In the process of building the LSI-11, (developed at Steve's initiative), the first roll-around mini computer system that was used in a marketing experiment in which the sale was made and delivered by a one person with one physical contact with the customer. This is how computers are sold today but in the 1970's computers were sold by sales teams.

  8. Proposed and started development of MicroVAX that eventually became the first single chip 32-bit computer with memory management and floating-point. To develop MicroVAX the following had to be accomplished:

    • Development of MOS process with 2 or more levels of aluminum interconnect. The belief in the early 1980's was that MOS circuits could only have 1 layer of metal.

    • After the first level of metal was applied the wafer could no longer be heated to flow the glass.

    • Development of advanced CAD techniques.

    • Circuit capture.

    • Schematic capture to compare layout with desired circuit.

    • Design rule checking that would go beyond checking layout.

    • Integration of CAD tools to create a coherent system.

    • Ability to handle stubs properly such that designed circuits could be checked before the whole chip.

  9. Assembly of various teams into Semiconductor Engineering.

  10. Creation of plan to put all the pieces in place to ship the MicroVAX in 1985, but starting the project in 1980.

  11. Note that developing a MicroVAX chip set with the other items existing in 1980 did not make sense. They needed peripherals to shrink as well.

  12. Convincing the company to construct a new semiconductor fabrication facility to handle the MicroVAX and later projects.

  13. Developing a workstation product and business to use the volumes of MicroVAX that they would be able to produce. Shipped first DEC computer product running UNIX prior to a similar VMS product.

  14. During Steve's final 4 years at Digital, he worked with a group called Advanced Service Delivery Systems in which they built tools for Field Service. During this time they turned the Athena software from MIT into a product. In addition, they started an advanced network lab in Palo Alto, Ca as a joint project between field service and DEC research. This group constructed early firewalls that later became a product.

  15. Unfortunately all the substantive work they did did't save Digital from being over-run by changes in the computer business. In this interview, Steve will talk about what happened.


  16. Participated in early distance education for senior executives during mid 1980's at WBSI.

  17. During the mid-1980's Steve Teicher attended one of the first on-line education experiments for business executives run by WBSI (Western Behavior Sciences institute). WBSI was founded and run by Dick Farson, a protege of Carl Rogers. WBSI instructors were people who were first in their field, such as Walter Roberts, founder of National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. NCAR developed many important things including ways of landing aircraft in the presence of microbursts. NCAR also studied the ozone hole in the Antarctic and Global Warming. Other WBSI instructors included Jonas Salk, John Cravens, Geraldine Ferraro, Jessica Lipnack, Jeff Stamps, and Najib Hallaby. Attendees included executives from industry and from various government agencies including the US Army.

    After Digital...:

  18. Moved to West Coast to be VP of engineering for Kubota Pacific Computer.

  19. Spent nearly 3 years at Apple Computer - starting as Director of Graphics and Imaging and ending up a VP of world wide tools -- essentially in charge of globalization, localization, and special products for geographies.

  20. VP of engineering of Real3D in Orlando, Fl.

  21. VP of applications of Go-Coop that suffered from the aftereffects of 9/11 on the hotel industry.

  22. 4 years teaching as a lecturer for UCF.

  23. During the 1990's Steve was a member of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and for 2 plus years was a board member and treasurer of CPSR.

  24. Now retired.

    Additional Educational information:

  25. Attended North Eastern Executive Education at Amherst College in 1980's.

  26. Earned MBA with honors in 2001 at Rollins College in Winter Park Florida.

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

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