Gordon Bell

American computer engineer

Gordon Bell (born August 19, 1934) is an American electrical engineer and manager. An early employee of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) 1960–1966, Bell designed several of their PDP machines and later became Vice President of Engineering 1972-1983, overseeing the development of the VAX. Bell's later career includes entrepreneur, investor, founding Assistant Director of NSF's Computing and Information Science and Engineering Directorate 1986-1987, and researcher emeritus at Microsoft Research, 1995–2015.

Gordon Bell


  • The most reliable components are the ones you leave out.
    • Reported in Stuart Borlase, ed., Smart Grids: Infrastructure, Technology, and Solutions (2013), p. 445.
  • A Broadband Cable for TV is like a sewer pipe that in principle can carry gas, water, and waste: it is easy to get all that shit in there, but hard to separate it out again.
    • At the February 10, 1982, Ethernet Announcement at The World Trade Center with Bob Noyce of Intel and David Liddle of Xerox.

Computer World "VAX Man" interviewEdit

VAX Man. Gordon Bell, Computer World (June 22, 1992).
  • Microsoft NT...is going to be very far-reaching. It's going to grab the rug out from under Unix.
  • In 10 years, you'll see 99% of the hardware and software systems sold through what are fundamentally retail stores.
  • Twenty-five years from now...Computers will be exactly like telephones. They are probably going to be communicating all the time ... I would hope that by the year 2000 there is this big [networking] infrastructure, giving us arbitrary bandwidth on a pay-as-you-go basis.
  • Somebody once said, 'He's never wrong about the future, but he does tend to be wrong about how long it takes.