Who's Who

FIG stuff

FIG would like to collect and publish information about individuals who have an interest in Forth on this Who's Who webpage.

If you are interested in participating in this, please email as much information as you feel comfortable sending including:

  • Your name
  • Contact information including email address
  • URL of your personal webpage
  • How you got started with Forth
  • Where you use Forth (business, school, home)
  • Descriptions of past, current, and future projects and interests
  • Version(s) of Forth you used and hardware development environment
  • Why you like Forth
  • Help you might need with a Forth project
  • Willingness to share your Forth expertise with others
  • Head shot photograph

Send your information to the FIG webmaster for posting.

External Webpages

Wil Baden
Douglas Beattie Jr. - old one
Skip Carter (Taygeta)
John Comeau
Dick Fergus
Richard Gray
Bill Kibler
Phil Koopman
Peter J. Knaggs
Dallas Legan
Charles Melice (ForthCAD-3D)
Peter Midnight (Parallel Rules, Inc.)
Peter Milford
Chuck Moore
Howerd Oakford (Inventio Software)
Julian Parramore
Brad Rodriguez
Paolo Torricelli

External Webpages & Descriptions

  • Michael A. Losh - Wrote jeForth and WebForth.
  • Frank Sergeant - Small page with links, including to his Forth page with selected fine links, downloads Pygmy Forth.
  • Olivier Singla - Wrote several Forths (froth, dos-wfroth, works and lives in Raleigh, NC
  • Samuel Tardieu - Wrote PicForth, a free-software Forth compiler for the Microchip PIC microcontrollers.
  • Reuben Thomas - Downloads. Implementations: aForth, Machine Forth for ARM, TpForth, Joy Forthlike language; Beetle virtual machine designed to run Forth; much more. All programs GPL, unless otherwise stated.
  • Len Zettel - Len's Forth Page, Forth: discrete event simulation, large integer arithmetic, statistics routines, user stacks, 'Unprofessional silliness'; small but useful set of other links, includes books. Also some personal views, family information.
  • Tom Zimmer- An Interview with Tom Zimmer: Forth System Developer
  • William B. Zimmerly - Wrote zForth 32-bit Forth, zForth for Linux, zHTTP Internet Webserver written in zForth; involved in many other impressive Forth efforts.

Updated urls

M. Edward Borasky
Marcel Hendrix
Olivier Singla
Leo Wong

Bad urls

Chris Heilman - Pocket Forth
Michael Mangelsdorf
Mark Smiley
Scott A. Woods
Len Zettel

Alphabetic Listing

Dudley Ackermaan
Raymond K. Adams
Mitch Bradley
Leo Brodie
Ned Conklin
Charles Curley
Randy M. Dumse
Timothy W. Duncan
Samuel A. Falvo II
Gary Feierbach
Kim Harris
Dave Jaffe
John S. James
Andrew Korsak
Andrew McKewan
Jay McKnight
Roger Levy
Jay Melvin
George Nicol
Marlin Ouverson
Howard Pearlmutter
Rick Miley
Bill Ragsdale
Dennis Ruffer
John Slater
John K. Stevenson
Michael Stolowitz
Glenn S. Tenney
Chen-Hanson Ting
Martin Tracy
Jack Woehr
David Wyland
Pete Zawasky
Tom Zimmer

photo of Michael Stolowitz

Michael Stolowitz - 06/21/2018

michael -at- stolowitz.com

I recently attended a meetup for a programming language and realized that this was the first such meeting that I have attended since the FIG meetings in Hayward in the 1970's. Going through the Who's Who on this site, I recognized several of the names. A number of these people showed up at the Vintage Computer Festival at the Computer History Museum in the last year or so.

I am not a programmer, I am a hardware designer! I consulted independently since around 1972. During those early years, my clients included Morrow Designs, CompuPro, and North Star. Many of those systems hosted Forth systems. , many of which were hosting Forth systems. In those days, you could not grab an LSI chip that implemented a Floppy or Hard Disk Interface. It took some effort to get a DMA controller down to the 60 or so chips that would fit on an S100 board. The designs were often a delicate balance between hardware and firmware. You did as much as you could in firmware, but the disk bit rates required hardware. The Morrow controller was designed around the Signetics 8X305 which was a bipolar microprocessor fast enough to execute 4-5 instructions in each byte time of disc data. The CompuPro DMA Hard Disk was designed around an Intel 8085. For the disk read and write operations, the processor was an integral part of the state machine synchronized the byte rate from the hard disk using the ready line. There was a full Fig Forth in its EPROM. It has a serial port so that you could connect a monitor to configure and test the controller.

A lot of these projects used PALs (Programmable Array Logic). To program a PAL, you needed to feed a fuse map to the programmer to tell it which fuses to blow. Signetics had a compiler written in FORTRAN which you could run on a CP/M machine emulating the FORTRAN through some other language. Needless to say, it ran pretty slow. In literally a couple of evening I wrote a PAL Compiler which looked a lot like the Forth Assembler. It could interpret the equations and produce a fuse maps as fast as you could read it. You defined pins which executed to define input and output signals which executed to toggle fuses in their corresponding rows. You were done. (I delivered the paper A Compiler for Programmable Array Logic in Forth at one of the Forth conferences at Asilomar).

Then there was the day that Data I/O delivered the new Pal Programmer. They were going to leave me the protocol spec for the serial interface and go to lunch. They had not made it out the door before I was sending PAL fuse maps to the new programmer.

I have not touched Forth in many years. I miss it dearly!

photo of Roger Levy

Roger Levy - 08/24/2016

roger.levy -at- gmail.com

How I got started with Forth: Stumbled on it in around 2000, during high school.

Where I use Forth: Home & Business?


  • Game development

  • Interactive development environments

  • User interfaces

  • Streamlining workflow

  • My focus is mainly on 2D but I've dabbled in 3D

  • 2000-2004 Interactive procedural artwork at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Win32Forth/Allegro 4. Exposure to ColorForth.

  • 2004-2006 Developed GC-Forth at the University of Baltimore. It was/is a self-contained native Forth system for the Nintendo Gamecube with its own code editor based on "portrait oriented" blocks, a graphics editor, and a simple synthesizer. Stopped working on it when the "jailbreak" hardware needed to run it stopped being manufactured, and the Gamecube's successor Wii came out and turned out to be incompatible (without a lot of work I didn't want to do.) Also realized that I didn't have enough knowledge or experience to complete the system.

  • 2006-2008 Developed Glypher, an experimental ColorForth-like for Windows based on a modified version of RetroForth. Included its own code editor and sprite editor. I determined that the parameters of ColorForth are not a good fit for the type of games I wanted to make.

  • 2008-2010 Developed Tengoku, an object-oriented game engine which was hastily designed and coded, inadequately tested, and ultimately my biggest failure because it was basically turning Forth into a poor version of C#.

  • 2013 Developed a cross-compiling 8-bit Forth called Eighth for the Nintendo Entertainment System, which includes a working interactive interpreter written for the FCE emulator, written in Lua.

  • 2014 Developed and released my first commercial game and first game written in Forth, The Lady

  • 2015-2016 Currently developing a game development framework based on the Lady Engine and other code culminated over the past ~16 years which boasts a "pluralistic" approach well-suited to Forth. The platform's working name is Bubble.

Past, current, and future projects and interests:

Versions of Forth:

  • Windows XP and up / 32-bit/ 64-bit
  • Win32Forth - too slow, reversed DLL params
  • RetroForth - too limited
  • SwiftForth - useful if a little clunky at times
  • ColorForth - too oriented to Charles Moore's specific needs
  • VFXForth on Windows/Desktop, and Linux/Raspberry Pi - probably the best big Forth, I plan to transition to it
  • Nintendo Gamecube & GC-Forth
  • Nintendo Entertainment System & Eighth

Why I like Forth:

  • As insects are to mammals, it's like an alternate branch of evolution with a whole lot of lessons to learn from.
  • It's ideal for writing game object state machines fluently
  • An evolution-based philosophy with huge potential
  • It shines when you try to keep it simple - which is good for me as an artist
  • It taught me to be a MUCH better programmer!

Help I might need with a Forth project:

  • I would really like someone knowledgeable in VFX (and bonus Linux or Mac) to help me port Bubble to VFX / Windows and get it running on Mac or Raspberry Pi! The program was designed with portability in mind so I tried to make this as straightforward as possible.
  • Other semi-minor tasks such as documentation and community-building

Willingness to share my Forth expertise with others:

  • I've been wanting to do this for a long time. I have learned and discovered a lot in all the years I've been doing this. My focus in teaching would be on properly contextualizing Forth in its current state, and discussing the importance of the philosophy behind it over its constituent parts. Also, a discussion of the practical concerns and best practices I've accumulated, including my own opinions on coding and documentation style.

photo of Jay Melvin

Jay (Joseph) W. Melvin - 10/07/2013

VE7KC -at- infoPATH.com
jmelvin -at- infopath.com
http://www.infopath.com - extant & currently inactive

How I got started with Forth:

1978 - Forth Dimensions Volumes 1 - 3 received in initial subscription as advertised in Byte Magazine.

1979 - Liberty House - Robert Reiling introduced me to Bill Ragsdale and Tom Zimmer. Tom installed ZForth (his initial distribution) onto my Ohio Scientific Challenger III (6502).

1980 - Took Kim Harris' TRS-80 based class in Palo Alto.

1981 - Leo Brodie & Al Krever hired me and over the next five years at FORTH Inc. to support polyFORTH. I became the hot-line programmer and my wife, Linda, managed Production.

1986 - Linda and I joined Chuck and Min at Computer Cowboys on Star Hill Road at Kings Mountain, Woodside, CA. Wrote cmForth's shadows there. At Maxtor (disk drives) worked with Mike Mayo, Tom Zimmer, Dr. Bob Smith, Mike Yantis, Terry Yip, Charles Curley, Oliver Shank, Thao Nguyen, Rodger Bird, and Dr. C.H. Ting in software production and factory support. An all-Forth software team - some bunch we were.

1988 - Left there to join my wife with Jim Brick and Gary Anderson at Ultron/Tracor Labs, then Comtech Labs, then Coastal Partners, and then Omnipoint Corp. In Colorado Springs where, always in Forth, we (Anderson, Brick, Linda, Sherman Gavette, others and I) performed the USA's first ISDN based Hand Over demonstrating to the standards group Telelocators Forth written PCS telephony (handsets, base station controller, and modem) and so winning the first ever congressionally-mandated FCC radio licenses (KNLF206 and KNLF209, GSM in NY, NY). Later, still at Omnipoint, we demonstrated to NIST at Bolder, CO. Cashed out on vesting stock and retired. Sadly misplaced my keyboard there.

1996 - Joined my wife in the telephony standards world. Later was elected by ANSI Committee T1 to represent USA's Users and Special Interest Groups before international standards ETSI where I moved the A5 and A11 encryption standards into the Global System for Mobility (GSM) telephone. DotCom busted me into a second retirement. Near our home in Half Moon Bay, I contracted thru an intermediary with the USAF at Pillar Point to park satellites.

2007 - Retired a third time to immigrate to Canada.

2011 - Obtained Canadian citizenship.

2013 - Obtained Amateur Radio call sign VE7KC.

Where I use Forth: In my head at home.

Projects: Practice polyFORTH and SwiftForth with target intellaSys SEAforth24 multicore parallel Forth engines (on a chip). Thus thirty-five years later, I'm developing a star counter and rain-drop counter.

Past, current, and future projects and interests: Amateur Radio including AMSAT and Emergency Preparedness (SEPAR) and amateur astronomy (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada).

Versions of Forth: ZForth, polyFORTH, F-PC, and SwiftForth. At Comtech Labs, I developed the application requisite instruction set and then the hardware guys Field Programmable Gate Array'ed the F-PC based Colour Video Secure Telephone (STUIII) engine. That is the way to Forth around, software then the hardware.

Why I like Forth: My native tongue without which machines are uncontrollable.

Willingness to share my Forth expertise with others: Yes, let's talk. I especially like block-based polyFORTH.

photo of Pete Zawasky

Pete Zawasky - 08/20/2013

361 Mills Rd.
Oriental, NC  28571
pzawasky - at- pzef.net
252/249-3393 (voice and fax)
252/670-6940 (cell)

How I got started with Forth: Early 80's, FigForth and the RCA 1802/1806 - 90's became eFORTH and Motorola microcontrollers.

Where I used Forth: Employment and the business has been all about instrumentation and control over the years. Many embedded controller apps, used several of Randy's boards,too. At home, I have used Forth on PCs and embedded controllers for hobbies such as ham radio.

Projects: Contribute something to Win32Forth. Port FlashForth to additional Microchip processors.

Past, current, and future projects and interests: Whatever will keep the brain active. Forth seems good at that.

Versions of Forth: Win32Forth, FlashForth for Microchip PIC processors

Why I like Forth: Closeness to the hardware.

Help I might need with a Forth project: Would like to improve documentation for FlashForth.

Willingness to share my Forth expertise with others: Semi-retired now, plenty of time

photo of Andrew McKewan

Andrew McKewan - 03/29/2012

Windsor, Canada
amckewan -at- yahoo.com

My Forth journey began in the early 1980s when my college professor handed me an 8086 FIG-Forth assembly listing and asked me to get it running on a target board. I remember sitting down one Friday evening to type in the source. I had been at it for a while when some friends stopped by. Only when they asked me if I wanted to go out did I realize it was 5 o'clock ... on Saturday night! I eventually got FIG-Forth assembled and running and programmed the robot to complete my term project.

I introduced Forth to my first employer for use in a hand-held barcode reader. We sold a custom scripting language called UDL that was a Forth for the RCA 1802 processor. I got in touch with Bill Ragsdale and moved out to California to work for him at Dorado systems. Of course we did all of our software in Forth. I then went to Finnigan to take over an huge Forth program for their mass spectrometers. The job was to port the program from 16-bit MS-DOS to 32-bit Windows NT. We hired Tom Zimmer and together with Bob Smith and Andy Korsak we developed Win32Forth. Finnigan was kind enough to allow us to release it into the Public Domain.

I left Finnigan and Forth in 1999. I am currently a software architect at Harman International where we make automotive infotainment systems.

I like Forth because it is simple and interactive. One person can understand the whole language and implementation. The style of programming I learned with Forth has been with me my whole career.

Three years ago I discovered Lua, another interpreted language with a quite different set of goals, but as simple and beautiful as Forth in its own way.

I am blessed to have been part of the Forth community and will never forget the wonderful times at Asilomar and SVFIG, and most of all the people I met.

photo of CH Ting

Chen-Hanson Ting - 03/28/2012, 09/11/2015

Introduction: Retired chemist-turned-engineer

How long have you been interested in Forth?: 32 years

Bio: PhD in chemistry, University of Chicago, 1965. Professor of chemistry in Taiwan until 1975. Firmware engineer in Silicon Valley until retirement in 2000. Still actively composing Forth Haikus.

Custodian of the eForth systems since 1990, still maintaining eForth systems for Arduino, MSP430, and various ARM microcontrollers. Author of eP8, eP16, eP24, and eP32 microcontrollers in VHDL, which were implemented on several FPGA chips.

Offete Enterprises, started in 1975, is now formally closed. However, Dr. Ting can still be contacted through email chenhting -at- yahoo.com.tw.

photo of Dennis Ruffer

Dennis Ruffer - 02/28/2012

daruffer -at- gmail.com
Facebook and Google+
DaRuffer on Twitter
druffer on Skype

How I got started with Forth: I translated circuit diagrams into flow charts for diagnosing car engines.

Where I used Forth: 30 years being paid to write Forth, but now just a hobby.

Past, current, and future projects and interests: Expert Systems, SCADA, Smart Cards, Open Firmware, Software Defined Radios

Versions of Forth: polyFORTH, SwiftForth, SwiftX, aforth, gforth, ventureForth, machineForth, colorForth

Why I like Forth: I can extend the language to be whatever the application needs it to be.

Help I might need with a Forth project: Promote Green Arrays

Willingness to share my Forth expertise with others: As time allows

photo of David Wyland

David Wyland - 11/01/2011

dcwyland -at- ix.netcom.com

David Wyland has over 42 years experience in high tech development, design and management, in start up company environments as well as large corporations. His experience range includes new hardware and system product definition, product development and introduction, technical management and strategic marketing. Previous roles include VP of Strategic planning at AMD, VP of Engineering at Quality Semiconductor and VP of Engineering positions at other firms. Wyland is skilled in all aspects of silicon and system engineering including product definition, architecture, analog, digital, and mixed signal design.

Wyland was a participant in the microprocessor revolution, introducing the first bit-slice element in 1973 at MMI. He was introduced to the FIG-Forth crew by Dave Bengal in the 1980's and has been a Forth enthusiast ever since. His long standing interest in robotics - since high school - led him to publish papers on robotics and worked with Prof. Ed Katz to be one of the 5 members who drove the activities in the formation of the Silicon Valley chapter of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.

Wyland received a BSEE from UCLA. Wyland has published 31 papers and has 25 patents to date. Paper topics include computer architecture, optical disk technology, system design and robot architecture.

photo of Gary Feierbach

Gary Feierbach - 11/01/2011

gf -at- inneraccess.com
Feierbach's Blog
Inner Access Consulting
IBM 1401 Restoration & Docent Team Bios

Kim Harris got me started with Forth by getting me involved with Bill Ragsdale's workshop where each of us would implement Forth for a different mini or micro computer. Kim and I both worked for the Institute for Advanced Computation at the time, so it was around 1977 or 1978. I implemented Forth for the Computer Automation LSI-1. My wife and I developed an assembler and disk operating system (OPSYS1) for that machine, so this was a little fun side-project. After completing the FIG-Forth compiler/interpreter I had little idea what to do with it. Soon a project came along that seemed a perfect fit for Forth and I was hooked. It was more fun to work with than any language I previously used. This included Lisp, Fortran, Cobol, Snobol, C, Neliac, Algol, Basic, and a variety of assemblers and tools. Now I've added many more languages to the list but none are as much fun.

I've used Forth for a large variety of application from robotics, instrumentation, boot ROMs, database applications, accounting systems, and many others not normally associated with Forth's application focus.

I now rarely use Forth since large libraries are available in other languages to do nearly everything I need to do. I now use C++, Java, Perl, Python, and Ruby (on Rails) and am doing more digital and analog hardware design. In the last two year I also did a fair amount of writing, mostly Sci-Fi under my Kalifer Deil pseudonym.

Kalifer Deil
kalifer.deil -at- gmail.com
Twitter: kaliferdeil
"Live twice as long!"

One of the great benefits of Forth is also its Achilles' heel. You have essentially a DNA kit to build anything you want but anything you decide to build can be built in innumerable different ways. If one isn't very careful in their choice of names for Forth words the code becomes write only. I have had to fix other people's code in many languages and that can be hard to do in C if you have an overly clever programmer. In Forth, it takes even more perseverance. For this reason, Forth in the hands of a novice can be dangerous. In a couple of weeks into a programming effort he will be completely lost if he hasn't done a careful factoring of his problem and chosen a lucid naming convention and stack diagrams. In the hands of programmer that doesn't try to impress others with over-cleverness and is a careful top down designer and documenter Forth can be a wonderful tool for embedded applications and robotics.

On the personal side I've been living in Belmont for the last 40 years and have two grandkids that also live in this quiet little town as well. The one year old Jody dances every time she hears music. Her four year old sister, Darcie, likes to paint. Both are full of mischief. My Wife, Coralin, is the current Mayor of Belmont and my daughter, Becket, is a scientist at Genentech.

photo of Jack Woehr

Jack J. Woehr - 05/31/2011

Where to find me:
Box 51
Golden, CO  80402-0051
jwoehr -at- softwoehr.com

Jack Woehr formerly served on the X3J14 Technical Committee and on the board of the Forth Interest Group. He programmed all sorts of stuff in Forth and other languages until he got bored and now spends most of his time playing music and chess, raising one of his grandchildren, and pondering the nature of the universe.

photo of Randy Dumse

Randy M. Dumse - 03/11/2011

Where to find me:
New Micros, Inc
1601 Chalk Rd.
Dallas, TX  75212
rmd -at- newmicros.com

How I got started with Forth: I was at Rockwell in 1980. Forth was ported to the AIM-65 by John (Sandy) Bumgarner and Dave Bolton.

Where I used Forth: Work, teach Digital Electronics and Robotics (Physics 4310/5310) at University of Northern Iowa.

Projects: Past : R65F11, R65F12, F68HC11, current: DSP56F80x, IsoPod(TM), ServoPod(TM), and future: SuperPlugaPod(TM)

Past, present and future interests: IsoMax(TM)

Versions of Forth: Usually my own, hardware development environment, many versions

Why I like Forth: Suspect deep connection with how mind works.

Help I might need with a Forth project: I'd like to explore multiple interpreters in a single Forth.

Willingness to share my Forth expertise with others: Open

photo of Andrew Korsak

Andrew Korsak - 03/11/2011

Where to find me: I am most often monitoring the N6NFI ham radio repeater at 145.23 MHz PL100Hz. Other (normal people's) way to find me: kr6dd -at- yahoo.com or forth.fanatic -at- gmail.com or 650/245-9819 (cell)

How I got started with Forth: I think it was 1977 (I think) when I attended a Homebrew Computer Club meeting at the Fairchild Auditorium in the Stanford Hospital compound where Bill Ragsdale and Dave Boulton showed up announcing the newly founded FIG, their recently issued 6502 FIG-Forth kernel source listings (I don't recall if also 8080 and 1802 or if those came a bit later). I began attending the FIG meetings at a shopping mall in Hayward and got so "turned on" that I have been a Forth "religious fanatic" ever since.

Where I used Forth: First as a consultant, late 70's up to mid 80's doing various embedded control/acquisition projects, then later as a software contractor and finally as an employee the last six years before retiring I prototyped ideas in Forth and translated my work to C, C++, Visual Basic, on various platforms as required by my employers.

Past projects: A stamping machine, a urine measuring prototype (initially using a VIC-20 with a Forth cartridge bought from Tom Zimmer but then I bought the Nautilus target compiler from Jerry Boutelle and burned an EPROM), an electronic lock system using AIM-65 Forth and later the Nautilus target compiler which I later applied to code for a satellite receiver combiner/switcher using an 8751 micro and then my own 8751 home brew "umbilical Forth" kernel for a military project prototype, then FIG-Forth and a PC 32-bit implementation called FIFTH for concept evaluations leading to 68000 assembler code to help Israeli fighter jets estimate bullet trajectories in real time, contributed to translation of Finnigan's mass spectrometer 16-bit Forth code to a new Win-NT object oriented Forth environment by Ziimer and Andrew McKewan which led to Win32Forth, then finally as a test software engineer at READ-RITE before I retired Jan'02 I managed to squeeze in various Forth simulations prior to Visual Basic and C++ final implementations.

Past, present and future interests: Ham radio software app's using Forth; I wrote an Apple II program using John Draper's Apple II Forth for receiving AX.25 packets using only one wire and ground coming from my radio into the cassette input socket, i.e. "look, Ma, no TNC!"; transmitter fingerprint display via Win32Forth, also DTMF generation, remote radio control by a disabled radio ham, WAV file I/O; now still working on debugging a sound card I/O package so I could write my own SW for Doppler RDF, signal identification and characterization in my volunteer ARRL Official Observer Coordinator operations.

Why I like Forth: Sort of how I like all the freedom and opportunity having immigrated to this great constitutional democratic republic; prior to discovering Forth I felt totally repressed by autocratic, despotic, tyrannical SW environments, just as I would have been overall if I hadn't had the opportunity to escape the communist tyrants in Poland in '46. Once I "saw the light" with Forth I was able to fly fast and free, interactively, at any level (until Windows got too damn complicated), i.e. OX access, devices, without tedious assembler/compiler batch processing, etc.

Help I might need with a Forth project: Yes, fast and free, till I ran into the Microsoft OS "brick wall". Can anyone please tell me how the heck to get my Win32Forth code working for sound card I/O? I posted it at the Yahoo Win32Forth group. The winmm.dll hangs me up when I try doing callbacks to move the card writing pointer to another buffer (a background task). I am not yet willing to delve into Linux because not enough hams use it.

Willingness to share my Forth expertise with others: Sure, you have my contact info.

photo of John S. James

John S. James - 10/31/2010

I'm usually in Philly, so can't make Forth Day. Some day I'll attend to meet new people and catch up with old ones as well.

These days I'm doing www.RepliCounts.org, a non-proprietary e-commerce software design.

aidsnews -at- aidsnews.org

John S. James started programming professionally in 1963, and in the early 1980s published articles on the computer language Forth, explaining it to other programmers. He left programming when a volunteer project led to AIDS Treatment News, an activist medical newsletter that he founded and published for over 20 years.

John James wrote FIG-Forth for the DEC PDP-11, one of the best FIG-Forth implementations.

He wrote the FIG bulletin board system which later become a generalized bulletin board system.

Fun Fact: The FIG-Tree dial-up BBS needed a listing in the phone book, so since it was an Apple ][, it was in the book as "Apple Ragsdale".

john2james -at- gmail.com

photo of Ray Adams

Raymond K. Adams - 06/11/2010

I thought that I should tell you a little about why I am interested in re-practicing Forth after being away from it for - hmm let's see, almost 30 years.

About 33 years ago, I was attempting to set up a laboratory to aid the teaching of the Electrical Engineering Circuits course. I decided that the equipment we were using to teach Electrical Engineering Circuits was woefully inadequate. We were using memory 'scopes to let the students visualize how the voltages and currents behave in simple circuits containing resistors, capacitors and inductors. It seemed to me that by the time the students got the 'scopes adjusted to observe an electrical transient, the difficulty of adjustment of the 'scopes obliterated the lessons attempted to be taught. In other words, it was so hard to adjust the 'scopes, that the observation of the transient had fallen into oblivion. So, I embarked upon the invention of a Virtual Scope or V'Scope.

My invention took the form of a small Mac (speaking Forth), and a satellite box that had a Forth based µP in it that used an A/D convertor (built-in) to sample up to 4 channels of analog signal. The invention is documented in the IEEE paper:

The virtual scope: an impedance match to the beginning ECE student

The uP in the remote box took the signals and stored them digitally. After the signal transient was recorded, the uP sent the signals to the Mac, where the (digitized) four signals of the transient were displayed on the screen, where they could then be printed. Up to 2048 individual samples of the 4 digitized signals were displayed. The uP spoke a version of Forth (I programmed it). I also programmed the Mac in Mach 2, which has unfortunately fallen into oblivion since that OS (OS7 I think, although it may have been even before any Mac OSs) has long since been in disuse.

My hope now, is to use a version of Forth to communicate with the serial ports of the Mac and thus connect to the Virtual Scopes (I liberated several of them [they were in storage] by virtue of a financial donation to the ECE department I worked in.) So you see my immediate interest in re-learning Forth. Any aids you can provide toward my using Forth to communicate with the Mac's serial ports will be appreciated.

rayadams -at- utk.edu

Individuals who responded at Forth Day 2009

photo of John Slater

John Slater - 11/23/2009

I did 20+ years of non-linear finite element work, and was forced to live in the Fortran ghetto. I am now a bit of a JavaScript expert and really enjoy programming.

As a past robotics activity, I worked with member Ingolf Sander on implementing Lowe's vision algorithm.

I currently am teamed up with David Wyland. We are putting Forth on a small CPU and want to use a web page to program and control a robot.

HomeBrew Robotics Club (HBRC) - Forth on Robots Wiki

johngslater -at- gmail.com

photo of Jay McKnight

Jay McKnight - 11/23/2009

Magnetic Reference Laboratory (MRL)

I use Forth at work and at home (I'm now retired)

Projects: At MRL, used Forth in magnetic recording system design calculations, and in designing and programming the signal generation system and the magnetic tape recorder system that we use to make "Magnetic Reference Laboratory" Calibration Tapes. This is based on Studer A-80 tape transports, with home-built, Forth controlled, electronics and signal and announcement generator and plotter.

A Forth program for calculating gap loss and compensation for it in a magnetic recorder can be downloaded here, and the source code is here.

RPN: Started with HP-9100A "calculator" in 1969, then an HP-35 in 1972, etc.

Forth Versions: Started in around 1980 with Micromotion Forth on an Apple2; then Tom Zimmer's Forth for the Commodore 64, where I learned about interfacing to a parallel port; then Zimmer's F-PC on an IBM PC and clones, which I still use.

Help I might need: Don't need any help with Forth now. Might be able to help a beginner with Forth -- my "expertise" is a bit rusty.

jay.mck -at- comcast.net

photo of Tim Duncan

Timothy W. Duncan - 10/27/2009

How I got started with Forth: I started programming Forth with the Hierarchical Music Specification Language (HMSL), a Forth project at Mills College during the 80's and early 90's. That was originally based on the Mach 2 Forth, from the Palo Alto Shipping Company. I was living in a remote area in Mississippi (scene of my first full-time college teaching job). Mountain View (as in Mountain View Press) seemed like the hub of technological innovation.

Where I use Forth: I don't use Forth as much as I did in the past, but I have used it on a number of music composition projects.

Past projects: One past project was a Forth program that generates all possible octave-repeating scales using numerical sieves. Other Forth projects generate musical content based on various algorithms, such as a 1/F noise generator.

Current projects: n/a

Future projects: A project that I would still like to implement is an interface for accessing audio and graphics in Forth that is consistent across Mac, Linux, and Windows.

Versions of Forth: Mach 2 Forth, HMSL, Win32Forth, Swift Forth evaluation edition.

Why I like Forth: Expressing concepts is very direct. Feedback is immediate. Language is intriguing.

Willingness to share: I am still interested in audio subsystem access within Forth.

tduncan -at- cogswell -dot- edu

Individuals who responded at Forth Day 2008

photo of Sam Falvo from Forth Day 2008

Samuel A. Falvo II - 11/25/2008

Where I use Forth: Mostly for exploratory or research programming, with production code written in more conventional languages.

Past projects: A text preprocessor written in GForth, of which a video of its evolution may be downloaded (preferably!) using BitTorrent or directly from my website via the blog. An assembler for the 65816 processor.

Future projects: A truly personal, home computer built around Forth and the philosophies of Chuck Moore, again mostly as a research vehicle to see to what extent if or how things could be different in the computer industry.

Versions of Forth: GForth, SwiftForth for Linux, PygmyForth for DOS, FTS/Forth (my own grossly incomplete and unfinished Forth) for the 32-bit x86 and 65816 CPU environments.

Help I might need: Most importantly, I need help to see the project through. I am notoriously bad at starting projects and never finishing them. It'd be nice to have some help in actually completing something for a change.

Willingness to share: All of my public work, unless otherwise documented, remains under the BSD license. I am more than willing to share and even to support, provided support loads prove reasonable. I know I'm not the best communicator.

kc5tja -at- arrl.net

Dudley Ackermaan - 11/15/2008

"I started Forth because of Cap'n Crunch (John Drapper) using Captain Crunch Forth for the Apple II. I began the San Francisco Apple Core Forth User's Group in 1980. We still meet twice a month."

rdacker -at- pacbell.net

Individuals who responded to "Where are they now?"

Rick Miley - 03/28/2009
Author of Mach1 Forth and Mach2 Forth by Palo Alto Shipping Company

I could quickly develop Macintosh videos boards using Mach2/Forth. The company was making products at a rate of one a week. We could debug hardware and make scope triggers 100 times faster than C or assembly.

I also used Mach2/Forth to send my first a fax. It was a picture of a fish. It got us funded. The fax specifications in 1988 were CCITT gibberish. They were so cryptic I had to pound on a horrible Rockwell chip for six months. I must have called my fax machine 1000 times. We had no test equipment.

The fax company was Global Village which ultimately went public in 1994 with a market cap of $200M.

photo of Dave Jaffe from Forth Day 2008

Dave Jaffe - 07/23/2008

My experiences with Forth

Dan Pliskin from Atari introduced me to Forth in the early 1980s. While working at the VA in Palo Alto, I briefly used 8080 PolyForth to program a powered wheelchair with the help of Kim Harris. Although PolyForth did not work out in the hardware environment I was using, I did find a version of Forth called Jib Ray Forth that was one of the first tethered Forths for 8080-class microprocessors. The source code for it was available and I was able to get it running on an Intel 8080 development processor board. Subsequently, I configured it for use on a Z-80 STD-bus board that controlled the powered wheelchair. I adapted that version of Forth for 8085, NSC-800, and Z-80 processors under CP/M. An 8086 version running under MS-DOS was also developed by an east-bay colleague.

I also helped support Forth's use for many years in the Smart Products Mechanical Engineering class at Stanford University. Eventually C became the language of choice for the class, displacing Forth.

At the VA, I used Forth for control of a robotic hand and for a project that monitored balance of elderly patients.

Most recently, I employed Forth in a program to validate, count, and sort zipcode and country data from a shopper's survey.

I continue to use Forth for embedded applications.

I enjoy using Forth because I can make it work the way I desire. I believe it fosters a superior programming development and debugging paradigm, especially in embedded systems.

photo of Martin Tracy

Martin Tracy - 05/22/2008
Martin is now Programmer Writer Lead, Visual Studio - Extensibility Team, at Microsoft

Webpage at Microsoft
martintr -at- microsoft.com

"As a senior programmer at FORTH, Inc., I wrote over twenty compilers for DSP and RISC chips, and my own protected mode operating system. Somewhere along the line, I also wrote a book for Prentice-Hall, and a column for Dr. Dobb's."

photo of Leo Brodie

Leo Brodie - 12/31/2007
Author of Starting Forth and Thinking Forth
leobro -at- comcast net

"I still have the extracurricular hobby business: Punch and Brodie Puppet Productions."

"I'm working as Director of Technical Services for NetSpeed Leadership in Seattle, developing Fast Tracks."

' NetSpeed Fast Tracks is a searchable database of practical resources that help you and your team manage your day-to-day workplace challenges and your career, and become more successful at work.'


Kim Harris - 11/19/2007
kim_harris - at- novxiii.com

"I'm retired from HP and spend time volunteering for non-profits, travel, and enjoying life. I'd love to connect with Forth folks, current or former. Forth has a fond place in my memory."

photo of John K. Stevenson

John K. Stevenson - Inventor - Updated 07/03/2009
js - at - nomadic.com
  • Past member of F83 and ANS Forth Standards Team
  • Buried too many small companies
  • Wrote a Forth Source generating Test Language, Xray control system
  • Did Systems Architecture for an Uplink Controller, a CAD package, and an SS7 Service Node
  • Systems Analyst for that unnamed Airport
  • Now Systems Engineering, DO-178B planning Avionics. (What holds Airplanes up? Standards.)

Mitch Bradley - 07/09/2007

"I'm currently working on the One Laptop Per Child project. The XO laptop boots with Open Firmware. Forth has been instrumental in debugging the various bits of innovative hardware on the laptop."

Ned Conklin - former FORTH, Inc. employee who worked on the Remote Manipulator System Simulator for the Goddard Space Flight Center and president of the KH6BB amateur radio club in Hawaii on the battleship Missouri

Ned is now retired in Hawaii, doing occasional consulting jobs for FORTH, Inc.

Edward K. (Ned) Conklin
2969 Kalakaua Ave., #1004
Honolulu, HI  96815

Charles Curley - Author of Forth Dimension articles and one of the writers of Sams Teach Yourself Emacs in 24 Hours

Charles Curley is the chairman and sole member of his "Forth Non-Standards Team" described in the Forth Dimensionsreview article Forth: The New Model in May/June 1993 - (V15N1). He's still a Forth Practitioner after all these years. For his particulars, go to his website. If you want good writing or good programming, he can be reached at charlescurley_at_charlescurley.com. 07/09/2007

Marlin Ouverson - Former Editor of Forth Dimensions

Marlin provides corporate services as a custom web site designer and producer, and as an experienced editor and publication designer through his company, External Design.

Glenn S. Tenney - Forth Standard Team member and co-author of MVP-Forth User's Manual: Amiga

Organizer and Chair of the THINK Conference (formerly Hacker's Conference)
PO Box 6983
San Mateo, CA  94403
650/574-0546 fax

THINK Conference Homepage

Howard Pearlmutter - 02/06/2004

"My Forth background has been mighty handy in my current incarnation - guruing about Extensible Languages, Virtual Machines, Enterprise Architectures, Management Strategy, etc. That's on the public seminar and private consulting side; on the personal coding and system administration side, I've been doing a lot with XML, J2EE, J2ME, Linux, SVG, XSL, etc."

"As a consulting mercenary and general hitech nomad, I've logged 59 months overseas during the past 7 years, mostly Australia, Singapore, Israel, and England. Currently on US east coast, without current plans to be out west anytime soon, but would love to rendevous with you all when I do eventually make it back to California. Until then, please convey my best wishes to everyone in the Forth Family."

Executive Summary

George Nicol - proprietor of Silicon Composers, Inc.
george -at- inscenes.com

"These days I'm mostly making short films and writing/recording music in Buenos Aires. I recently finished a new film: Hooked on You. I'm also planning to release a music CD this year." 01/23/2004

InScences Homepage

Bill Ragsdale - one of FIG's founders
fig -at- billragsdale.cc

"After retiring from Dorado Systems (a 100% Forth shop), I now conduct statistically based investment research and publish a financial advisory letter (Good Fortune). I am now living in Woodland, CA, phone 530/661-0413." 02/04/2004

Forbes Interview - 07/12/2002

An article Bill wrote about FIG-Forth on the JOLT computer.

11/15/2008 - "I was the first Forth Interest Group President and father of only and also."

Tom Zimmer - Primary author of FPC, Win32Forth, and TCOM
win32forth -at- mac.com

"I have been with Thermo (Thermo Electron in Austin, TX) now for over 10 years, moving from Forth programmer, to C/C++, to Java, and currently C#. I haven't written any Forth in over 5 years, which is sad but true. The Forth language has served me well over the years, and it will always have a special place in my heart. Always remember: You don't write "FOR" an operating system in Forth, you "ARE" the operating system in Forth. FORTH FOREVER!!" (07/06/2007)


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