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Rick Cattell

Rick Cattell

Database systems whiz | 7 patents, 5 books | Class of 1974

Who among us hasn’t been where Rick Cattell found himself in the early 1970s?

There he was, in Professor Donald Gillies' lab in the Digital Computer Lab building. “I had a project to compute 'pi,' using only 8K of memory, and managed to reserve the PDP-11 for myself all night on Christmas Eve. I had only one run to get it right, using my own 'giant floating point' routines not previously tested. 

"Luckily, I got the right answer, to 2,000 decimal digits. I had to run to the math library trying to find a book with that many digits of pi, to check my answer," says Cattell, now a Bay Area database systems and software consultant with seven patents to his credit.

“The other spot I most remember is the vending machine room at the Illini Union. That is where my friends hung out playing cards, having lunch and just talking.”