Lawrence Tesler, Who Made Personal Computing Easier, Dies at 74

In addition to helping develop the Lisa and Macintosh, Mr. Tesler founded and ran Apple’s Advanced Technology Group, after which he led the design of the Newton hand-held computer, although that proved unsuccessful. The group also created much of the technology that would become the Wi-Fi wireless standard, and Mr. Tesler led an Apple joint venture with two other companies that created Acorn RISC Machine, a partnership intended to provide a microprocessor for the Newton.

Although Apple eventually sold off its holdings in that venture, it would come to dominate the market for the chips that power today’s smartphones. The chip architecture created by the partnership is today the most widely used microprocessor design in the world.

Mr. Tesler left Apple in 1997 for a start-up and later went on to work for both Amazon and Yahoo. He left Yahoo in 2008 and spent a year as a product fellow at 23andMe, the genetics information company. He was most recently an independent consultant.

Lawrence Gordon Tesler was born in the Bronx on April 24, 1945, to Isidore and Muriel (Krechman) Tesler. His father was an anesthesiologist.

In 1960, while attending the Bronx High School of Science, Mr. Tesler developed a new method of generating prime numbers. He showed it to one of his teachers, who was impressed. As Mr. Tesler later recalled, he told the teacher that the method was a formula; the teacher responded, “No, it’s not really a formula, it’s an algorithm, and it can be implemented on a computer.”

“Where do you find a computer?” Mr. Tesler asked.

The teacher said he would first get him a programming manual and then figure out where to find a computer.

One day Mr. Tesler was sitting in the school cafeteria reading his manual, which offered instructions on how to program an IBM 650 mainframe in the most low-level, arcane machine programming language.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/20/technology/lawrence-tesler-dead.html