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Phillip Emeagwali achieved a high career mark on February 28, 1990 when he was awarded the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize, considered the “Nobel Prize of Computing.” At the time, the Nigerian computer scientist’s program created the fastest computer calculations ever recorded.

Emeagwali was born August 23, 1954 in Nigeria. After obtaining a high school equivalency degree, he obtained a scholarship to the University of Oregon and went on to earn three master’s degrees from Howard University, George Washington University, and the University of Maryland across the disciplines of engineering and mathematics.

While studying for his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan in 1987, Emeagwali worked at New Mexico’s Los Alamos Laboratory and was later granted remote access to the Connection Machine supercomputer. His program performed 1.3 billion calculations per second in an oil reservoir simulation experiment, and his invention paved the way for scientists to understand how complex computer functions can best be applied.

Emeagwali continues to lecture around the globe discussing not only his accomplishments, but also computing science in general.

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