January 1966 was a month forever seared into Joe Winograd’s memory. That’s when he was first introduced to a computer — the UNIVAC 1107 Thin-Film Memory Computer. He also discovered ALGOL, FORTRAN and assembly language programming, and met the woman of his dreams, who would later become his wife. Like many of his peers, he discovered his passion for technology in his early 20s while in college.
Joe (joewinograd) graduated from Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) with a bachelor’s degree in operations research, but his primary interest at Case in his junior and senior years was the UNIVAC 1107. However, it wasn’t until he attended graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University that he had the chance to study computer science formally. There he learned from four of the most influential professors in all of academia: Alan Perlis, Bob Floyd, Allen Newell and Herb Simon — all recipients of the Turing Award.
While attending CMU, he expanded his interest in the field of artificial intelligence, which had begun in his days at Case, then grew so much that it rivaled his passion for his home-town Philadelphia Phillies! Joe’s AI explorations at CMU led to his involvement in later years with the development of the computer chess program CHAOS, as well as working for Artificial Intelligence Corporation in the field of natural language processing.
After leaving CMU for a full-time job at RCA, Joe became a systems programmer working on the kernel of a large-scale, time-sharing, virtual memory operating system, among the first of its kind. He wrote the interrupt handler and the process scheduling algorithms, and had a hand in all aspects of the kernel, including the demand paging algorithms and virtual memory management routines (all coded in assembly language). His work on the internals of that state-of-the-art operating system provided the raw materials for his authoring or co-authoring numerous articles that appeared in prestigious computer technology publications, such as the Proceedings of the ACM National Conference and the ACM SIGOPS Operating Systems Review. This began his lifelong passion for writing and sharing knowledge, which he has continued here at Experts Exchange — 39 articles and counting!
Joe says that the discussions he witnessed while in school and at work are mirrored at Experts Exchange, which is why being part of the community is so rewarding for him.
“I learn more than I teach at Experts Exchange, and it blows me away how many smart people are accessible here to chat with or get advice from. I see names pop up in questions, articles and videos, and I’m excited to go see what they have to say.”
In the summer of 2010, Joe joined Experts Exchange to get an answer to a technology question. He was immediately struck by the community dynamic and the expanse of knowledge that was available to him. At the time, he imagined that he would be asking questions more than helping others but, looking back, he says that he has learned more while solving problems for others.
These days, what he looks for are projects that require custom programming, because it’s something that he enjoys doing and provides the satisfaction of creating a specific, unique solution to a problem. What’s most rewarding for Joe is seeing someone go out of his or her way to thank him for his help.
“When you help people, it’s so gratifying to see them acknowledge the impact you had and show you how much they really appreciate your help. That’s better than the points, the ranks and all the recognition on the site.”
While Joe was born and bred in Philadelphia, he’s been living in the Chicago area for decades, yet still supports his Philly sports teams. He loves to travel and has been in many parts of the world — throughout Europe and Asia, including the Far East, as well as the beautiful state of Hawaii, and once was found chasing an eclipse of the sun in Costa Rica. Of all the places he’s visited, London and Paris are his two favorite cities. You might also find Joe resurrecting his Case Tech varsity tennis days with his daughter or caring for a rescued cat or dog.