Inventor Spotlight: Mark Dean

This month, C4IP is recognizing Mark Dean, a pioneer of personal computers. Dean was born in Jefferson City, Tennessee, in 1957, and studied electrical engineering at the University of Tennessee and Florida Atlantic University before becoming chief engineer of IBM’s personal computers division at the age of 25.

He led the team behind IBM’s first personal computer and holds three of its foundational nine patents.

His major invention was the Industry Standard Architecture bus — an internal structure for computers that allowed visual, audio, and memory data to be transferred between devices, which he patented with colleague Dennis Moeller in 1985.

  • Dean is also known for creating the first color PC monitor and the first gigahertz computer chip.
  • He currently holds over 40 patents.

Dean’s impact is felt across the world: As of 2019, nearly half of households worldwide owned a computer — a total of over 1.3 billion units — and roughly 95% of U.S. households are currently estimated to own one.

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