How Mark Dean and Dennis Moeller Changed Computers Forever

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How Mark Dean and Dennis Moeller Changed Computers Forever

Today, when we pair a new mouse, keyboard or monitor with our computers, rarely do we worry about compatibility issues. Instead, most of the time, our devices just work. 

This is in large part thanks to 1997 National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductees Mark Dean and Dennis Moeller, who teamed up at IBM in the 1980s to create a microcomputer system with bus control means for peripheral processing devices. This internal architecture known as the ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) has since been adopted by all major computer manufacturers and continues to give computer users the ability to connect their peripheral devices with relative ease. 


The Power of Connectivity

Both Dean and Moeller earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering before they joined IBM and began working together to develop a microcomputer system that contained bus connectivity. Essentially, a bus gives different devices the ability to transfer data and communicate and work together at high and efficient speeds. 

Together, the two engineers continued to make architectural improvements and drastically expanded computer capabilities through the attachment of external devices. For their invention, the team was issued U.S. Patent No. 4,528,626 on July 9, 1985. The ability to “plug and play” peripherals depending on what task users wanted their computer to accomplish helped lay the foundation for the incredible growth that the computer industry continues to enjoy. 


Accomplished Careers 

Following the revolutionary development of the ISA, both Inductees have gone on to accomplish great things within their field.

Moeller went on to work as a senior technical staff member in the IBM Consumer Division. Now retired from IBM, he holds 23 patents related to PC system designs and PC printers.

Dean continued to work for IBM as the chief technical officer for IBM Middle East and Africa. He helped develop the first color PC monitor and first gigahertz chip, and he was named an IBM Fellow in 1995. Today, he holds  44 patents and has taught at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville since 2013.


Explore More Inspiring Inductee Stories

To learn the stories behind more of our NIHF Inductees, whose contributions continue to improve the lives of people around the world, we invite you to visit our blog.

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