Black History Month: How Mark Dean Revolutionized Computer Science

February 20, 2021 / Educator Resources

This Black History Month, Osmo is celebrating Black mathematicians, scientists and inventors whose creative problem-solving paved the way for future innovators. We hope these stories inspire your kids to find their own brilliance and never give up on their next great idea.

As the co-inventor of the first IBM Personal Computer, Dr. Mark Dean played an essential role in bringing technology to the masses. During his 30 years at IBM, Mark contributed to or drove the development of several game-changing technologies. In fact, he holds three of the company’s nine original patents.

Mark’s love for building things began in childhood. Mark’s father was a dam supervisor for the Tennessee Valley Authority. Mark often joined his father for inspections because he found dam engineering fascinating. Outside of his father’s work, Mark and his dad enjoyed working on engineering projects together, even building a tractor! By the time Mark reached high school, he was able to complete many projects by himself. He made his own computer, amplifier, and radio.

How Mark Dean’s Problem-Solving Changed Personal Computing

  1. After college, Mark joined IBM to work on the Personal Computer project. He used creative problem-solving to develop hardware like the IBM PS/2 Models 70 and 80, the Color Graphic Adapter, and the color PC monitor. These innovations made personal computers more efficient. He also created the Industry Standard Architecture bus, which enabled users to connect external devices to computers.
  1. Another major advancement Mark oversaw at IBM was the creation of the first gigahertz chip. This chip enabled a computer to perform one billion calculations per second. The processor could run ten times faster than it did with the previous megahertz chip.
  1. Today Mark is working in the field of neuromorphic computing, which involves teaching a computer to acquire knowledge and operate like the human brain. He considers neuromorphic computing the future of technology.

Mark attributes his creative problem-solving skills to his parents, who taught him that most problems have more than one solution. He encourages young people to see missed goals as opportunities to reset and start again.

Osmo Ignites the Innovator in Your Child

Mark Dean developed his creative problem-solving superpowers by asking lots of questions about the world around him and finding ways to overcome obstacles he faced. He says, “A lot of kids growing up today aren’t told that you can be whatever you want to be. There may be obstacles, but there are no limits.”

Every Osmo learning game helps your child develop the superpowers that Mark Dean has. By encouraging kids to independently learn core skills in the most fun way possible, face setbacks, and come up with multiple solutions to problems, Osmo shows your child that subjects like coding, math, and science certainly don’t ‘byte’! Check out the wide range of educational games, STEM learning games, and interactive games for kids on our website.