Few people could imagine the digital age of today back in 1974, when Gerald Bellendir worked with paper tapes and a teletype machine in an office that was nothing more than a converted bedroom of a house on the village grounds. Bellendir retired on Oct. 7.
Working with the accelerator design theory group, Bellendir was the first programmer ever hired. Since then, he has been instrumental in keeping Fermilab at the forefront of managing some of the world’s most complex scientific data. From the earliest versions of Fortran to the rise and fall of mainframe computing, Bellendir was able to keep up with the laboratory’s ever-changing computing needs.
“It’s kind of my legacy,” said Bellendir, who was actively involved in moving the computing division out of the Wilson Hall and into the Feynman Computing Center back in the 1980s.
By 1994, he was heading the systems programming group and was witness to the official end of the mainframe era and the need to revamp the Feynman space to accommodate the changing computing technologies that came in the next decade.