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Dean, Mark (1957- )

Image Ownership: Public Domain
Three of the nine patents on the original personal computer (PC) by International Business Machines (IBM) are registered to Dr. Mark Dean, making him a key contributor in the development of the PC.  

Dean was born on March 2, 1957 to Barbara and James Dean in Jefferson City, Tennessee.  He attended an integrated school, Jefferson City High School, where white teachers and classmates were amazed by his intellect and straight-A grades.  Dean earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1979 and an M.S. from Florida Atlantic University in 1982.  

Dean was hired by IBM as a chief engineer on the personal computer project.  His early contributions were to the IBM PS/2 Models 70 and 80, the Color Graphic Adapter, and the internal architecture which allows PCs to use peripheral high speed devices such as a mouse, keyboard, or scanner.  In 1992, Dean returned to graduate school to earn his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford (California).  Dean was made an IBM Fellow in 1995, the company’s highest honor.  In 1997, he was appointed Vice President and was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.  The world’s first gigahertz chip, which was capable of processing one billion calculations per second, was built under his directorship in 1999. To date, more than 40 patents have been issued in his name.

Dr. Mark Dean has been honored by numerous organizations, and in 2001 he was elected into the National Academy of Engineering, the most prestigious professional society for engineers in the country.  Dr. Dean continues to contribute to the evolution of the personal computer. 

Ray Spangenburg and Kit Moser, “Mark Dean” in African Americans in Science, Math, and Invention (New York: Facts on File, 2003);


University of Washington, Seattle

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