My love of computing began with learning Fortran and passing card decks through a window into “the computer room” while earning my first two degrees (Bachelor’s and Master’s) at Arizona State University. After receiving a fellowship for the doctoral program in theoretical linguistics at the University of California, San Diego, my love of computing expanded to models of sound patterns and other linguistic phenomena and watching Don Norman endlessly playing an ancient form of Tetris in the basement – early research in usability, no doubt! Other entertainment came with the Pascal group at USCD, and Ken Bowles’ famous parties for grad students.
After graduate school, I embarked on a 12-year journey into making machine translation—translation of natural languages by computer– practical. By significantly redesigning the Russian MT system, utilizing advances in both computing and in linguistics, it was possible to create a modular framework for a multilingual translation system used up to this day by U.S. Government agencies, multilingual corporations, and the European Economic Commission, as well as the original Babelfish translator on the internet. The Russian component also became the basis for automatic extraction and indexing of information from Russian patents, journals and collections, and even newspapers. In fact, in the 1980s, English translations of Russian newspapers became available on Congressional Representative’s desks the same day the papers were distributed in the USSR!
I later managed engineering functions at companies like the entrepreneurial computer-based training company Wicat, coordinating parallel development on new hardware (based on the newly released MC 68000), a new operating system, a new courseware authoring language and new courseware. At Relational Technology, while releasing the first PC version of Ingres and the first truly distributed RDBMS (Ingres Star),one of the problems we solved was the problem of version and release control for Ingres, which was written on VMS, then ported to the PC, CMS, and approximately 40 different UNIX boxes. My stint as a Director and VP at Adobe included products as disparate as FrameMaker and PostScript (which was essential to early versions of Acrobat).
After helping these software companies solve the problem of getting products out the door on schedule, and realizing how similar the root causes were across those companies, I founded Davenport Consulting, Inc., specializing in helping technical managers learn how to recognize and deal with the root causes of slipped schedules and error-prone releases. Clients have included Adobe, BMC, Cisco, IBM, Ford Motor Company, and Microsoft, as well as many small Silicon Valley companies and start-ups, like Inxight (acquired by Business Objects) and Fusion-io (recently acquired by SanDisk.)
My articles on metrics, configuration management, and enterprise architecture have appeared in Computer magazine, ITPro, and the IBM Systems Journal, among others.
• Board of Directors, Mill Valley Arts Festival
• Board of Directors, Malki Indian Museum
• Board of Kyoto Prize Symposium in San Diego
IEEE CS activities:
Chuck has been active in 4 of the 6 CS Program Boards and also serves this year as Treasurer:
- Professional Activities Board
- Chair, PAB-IT Committee
- Publications Board,
- Editor, Computer Magazine Standards column,
- Digital Library Operations Committee
- Technical and Conference Activities Board Secretary
- Standards Activities Board
- Secretary, Software and Systems Engineering Standards Committee
- Chair, Rewrite of IEEE Std 828-2012, Configuration Management