Chester C. Carroll

Stepping Alabama into the Computer Age

Inducted in 2004

Does one overstate in saying computer engineering had no history here before Chester C. Carroll’s arrival? Negligibly. Dr. Carroll’s scholarship, his teaching, his able administration account greatly for the commissioning of this discipline in its own right at both Auburn University and The University of Alabama. Dr. Carroll himself graduated from the latter’s doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s programs in electrical engineering, becoming a first-time lecturer in 1961. On retiring from UA in 1993, he had most recently served as inaugural holder of the Drummond Endowed Chair of Computer Architecture (the second named professorship he held at UA), also directing UA’s Computer Architecture Research Laboratory. Clearly, the science pursued by this Boothton native was in step with the times.

Fortunately for our state, Dr. Carroll also possessed the ability and dedication to coax along a following of young engineers also stepping toward the future. Furthermore, as teacher to hundreds of novice computer scientists over the decades, he directed the thesis and dissertation research of some 90 new professionals. Their own successes have been marked, notably that of Dr. Carroll’s very first Ph.D. candidate, now a respected academic and recent president of the largest engineering technical professional society, IEEE.

Few mentors manage such an impact, fewer still while simultaneously discharging millions of dollars’ worth of vital research and authoring scores of refereed publications. His extraordinary career earned highest tribute from fellow engineers when, in 1990, Dr. Carroll was elected a Fellow of the IEEE, joining just 4,000 others worldwide. For nearly two decades he has served as a visitor for the Computer Science Accreditation Commission. He has been elected repeatedly to the top posts in the Southeastern Center for Electrical Engineering Education as well as in several regional societies for research administrators; has held leadership positions at Auburn ranging from vice president for research to dean of engineering; and was named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow by UA in 1987.

Dr. Carroll also built what might be called a parallel research career serving the needs of American military aviation. An army soldier in the late 1950s, he later assumed such posts as director of the Resident Scientist Program at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; chair of the USAF Aero-propulsion Laboratory’s High Power Advisory Group; and senior research scientist at the Army Aviation and Missile Command at Redstone Arsenal. He has, additionally, shepherded many a government advisory board as it evaluated university-based research initiatives.

On July 1 this year, Dr. Carroll was installed as the seventh president of Lyman Ward Military Academy, which was established in 1898.

Dr. Carroll holds one of the earlier patents (No. 3,543,156) on embedded architecture. In January 2003 he was awarded eleven patents (under patent No. 6,513,054, B1) on highly parallel-embedded architecture using coefficient polynomial arithmetic. In addition, he was awarded two patents (under patent No. 6,618,741, B2) in September 2003 for his image cross-correlator designs. He pursued postgraduate study in math at the University of Michigan (sponsored by NASA) and spent a year at MIT as a research fellow. His name appears in the Dictionary of International Biographies and International Who’s Who in Community Service, among other reference works. It is a name that lent authority and prestige to any project that featured it; one which now brings honor to the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame.

Dr. Carroll is married to Edna Crowe Carroll and they are the parents of five.

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