Richard (Dick) Shoup was as multi-talented as he was multi-faceted. He loved playing trombone with his jazz group, Daddios, and will be remembered by his signature piece, Don’t worry ‘bout me. If there ever was an encompassing statement about Dick as a warm, loving man with a dry sense of humor, that will be it.
Dick was farsighted, looking for potential radical breakthroughs often long before others considered them. His Ph.D. topic is a great example. At the time of his Ph.D. (1970), nearly all computers used the von Neumann stored program model with serial execution of instructions and a common memory for data and software. The advantage of this structure is its generality: Any problem can be solved within the framework merely by changing the instructions or software with no change to the hardware. But what if the hardware itself could be adapted for each problem? Dick explored this problem and helped develop FPGAs (Field Programmable Gate Arrays). FPGAs are now widely used in computers and consumer electronics. Dick was also an early developer of computer imaging software. He developed the SuperPaint program, the first successful computer graphics system. SuperPaint was also the origin of today’s ubiquitous use of CGI (computer-generated imagery) animation in television and movies. He was recognized by the Association for Computing Machinery for winning an Emmy, an Academy Award, and a Computer Graphics Achievement Award.
Working with Tom Etter, Dick developed a modified version of quantum mechanics (QM) called link theory. After Etter’s death in 2013, Dick went on to develop these ideas further. A little background will help understand what he proposed.
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