Ken Olsen

Updated: 12/30/2019 by Computer Hope
Ken Olsen

Name: Ken Olsen

Born: February 20, 1926, in Bridgeport, Connecticut USA

Death: February 6, 2011 (Age: 84)

Computer-related contributions

  • American engineer, inventor, founder, and former CEO of DEC (Digital Equipment Corporation), a company that created one of the first digital computers for commercial use.
  • Issued U.S. patent #3,161,861 for Magnetic core memory on December 15, 1964.
  • During his studies at MIT, Olsen was recruited by the Navy to help build a computerized flight simulator.
  • While at MIT he directed the building of the first transistorized research computer.
  • Olsen was an engineer who had been working at MIT Lincoln Laboratory on the TX-2 project.

Honors and awards

  • Listed at #6 on the MIT150 list of the top 150 innovators and ideas (2011).
  • Inducted as a Fellow of the Computer History Museum (1996).
  • Received the IEEE Engineering Leadership Recognition Award (1986).
  • Named "America's most successful entrepreneur" by Fortune Magazine (1986).
  • Awarded the Vermilye Medal (1980).


"Software comes from heaven when you have good hardware."

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."