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In Memoriam, Arthur D. Friedman (1940-2011)


October 28, 2011 —

Arthur D. Friedman, former professor of Electrical Engineering at USC, passed away on October 24, 2011 at the age of 71. After first being diagnosed with cancer in his 30's, Art was cured and in remission for 35 years, before eventually passing away from another cancer.

Art was born and raised in New York. He earned his B.A. (1961), B.S. (1962), M.S. (1963), and Ph.D. (1965) in electrical engineering, all from Columbia University. Art then became a researcher in computer science and electrical engineering at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ, specializing in digital switching theory and fault detection of digital systems. While working at Bell Labs, he also taught a course at Columbia University. He wrote numerous papers and six books on electrical engineering that were widely distributed and used in both graduate and undergraduate computer science courses, and translated into Russian and Chinese.

In 1973, Art joined the faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California. He went on to teach at George Washington University for more than twenty years, where he became Chairman of the Department of Electrical Engineering in 1980. He was elected as a Fellow at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for his "contributions to fault-tolerant computing and switching theory and to computer engineering education." In 1974, he became editor-in-chief and co-founder, with his wife Barbara, of Computer Science Press, which specialized in text and reference books in computer science and electrical engineering. The company was recognized as one of the 500 fastest growing privately owned companies in the US in Inc.500 magazine in 1982, 1983, and 1984, and the company published over 100 textbooks and reference books that were widely used at universities globally. After the sale of the company in 1988, Art and Barbara founded Potomac Partners, LP, an investment management fund. In 1998, Art and his wife Barbara relocated to San Diego, California. He and his wife have been among the co-sponsors of the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair for the past several years.

Art is survived by his wife, Barbara; sons Steven and Michael; grandchildren Logan, Kaitlin, Blake, and Makayla; brother Stanley; nephews David Friedman, Jeremy Friedman, Jonathan Nimetz, and niece Andrea Press.

Melvin Breuer, USC EE faculty member and a colleague of Art for more than 40 years said: "We published a few papers together and co-authored two textbooks dealing with the testing of VLSI circuits. Art, along with Prem Menon, solved several important and fundamental problems related to switching theory. Even in his retirement he would help me solve problems like finding a tight upper bound on the number of prime implicants of a Boolean switching function of n variables. His contributions were of great value to students in these fields."

Ellis Horowitz, USC faculty member in computer science and EE remarked; "I was a colleague of Art, and though we were in different fields, we often discussed computing trends in hardware and software. Art's observations were always insightful and he was always direct and frank with his observations. Art's involvement with Computer Science Press was a major reason why I published several of my books with the company."

Donations in his memory may be made to the Cardiac Treatment Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, PO Box 2669, La Jolla, CA 92038; or the American Cancer Society, 2655 Camino del Rio North, Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92108; or the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair c/o Phil Gay, 5715 Baltimore Drive, #29, La Mesa, CA 91942.