I came to UCLA in 1951 as an Assistant Professor of Statistics directly from graduate school at the University of Chicago. Dean Neil H. Jacoby directed me to develop a curriculum that would support statistics as a major field of study for the MBA degree. He was broadening the curriculum of the school so as to add more analytical studies as well as specialists from outside the traditional subject matter areas thought to be the core for the study of business, areas such as mathematics, operations research, psychology and the social sciences.
Two regular courses, BA216A and 216B titled "Statistical Inference in Business" were basic to the statistics major. A third course titled "Special Topics in Statistics" was inspired by a course of the same name that I had taken at Chicago. I remember that the course had some difficulty being approved by the UCLA Campus Curriculum Committee because it was used to evaluating course proposals that included an outline, a reading list, and a bibliography. This course had none of these. (I have no factual information to support my thinking that this may have been the first Special Topics course at UCLA.) It is important here because it became the vehicle for my first computer course to be offered in 1955.
I had discovered something called an "electronic computer" named SWAC on campus in about 1952. I learned that SWAC stood for Standard Western Automatic Computer because its construction was funded by the National Bureau of Standards. I learned how to program it and started to solve statistical problems, of course, as my initial programming experiences
This early SWAC experience led me to withdraw completely from Statistics by 1960 and to spend the rest of my active career in computing until I retired in 1990.
The School has had a long and distinguished history with the electronic computers: from mainframes to desktops to laptops. My perspective on the early years of this history is documented here.
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