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ECRM Founder Dr. William F. Schreiber Passes Away

September 30, 2009
TEWKSBURY, MA—September 30, 2009—ECRM is saddened to have to announce that William F. Schreiber, ECRM founder and Professor Emeritus at M.I.T, died suddenly at his home on Monday September 21st at the age of 84. Together with Melvin J. Fennell from The Associated Press and fellow MIT professors and PhDs Samuel J. Mason, and Donald E. Troxel, Mr. Schreiber developed one of the first commercially successful optical character recognition (OCR) machines in 1969, and on March 28, 1969 founded ECRM (an acronym for Electronic Character Recognition Machinery).

Though the funeral was private, a commemoration of Dr. Schreiber’s life will be held at the M.I.T. Faculty Club at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday November 21, 2009.

Dr. Schreiber: Accomplished and Respected

Dr. Schreiber attended the New York City public schools and Columbia University, where he received the B.S. and M.S. in electrical engineering. In 1953, he received a PhD in applied physics at Harvard University, where he was a Gordon McKay and Charles Coffin fellow. Dr. Schreiber worked at Sylvania from 1947 to 1949 and at Technicolor Corporation in Hollywood, California from 1953 to 1959. From l959 until his retirement in l990, he was a faculty member at M.I.T as Professor of Electrical Engineering.

Dr. Schreiber’s major professional interest was image processing systems, including printing, facsimile, and television. This work included theory and extensive practical applications, including the development of a number of successful commercial products that incorporated innovative image-processing technology developed under his direction. He worked in graphic arts, including color correction, color printing, and laser scanner and recorder design, in facsimile, and in television. The TV work included digital and high-definition television.

In his lifetime, he was awarded the Honors Award from the Technical Association for the Graphic Arts (TAGA), the David Sarnoff Gold Medal from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), the Gold Medal of the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), and is a four-time recipient of the Journal Award of SMPTE. He was a devoted member of TAGA, an active member of the National Academy of Engineering, as well as SPIE, and a fellow of IEEE and SMPTE.

Throughout the period when he was an active member of the MIT faculty, Dr. Schreiber maintained a consulting practice in his fields of expertise, and served as an expert witness in several patent legislation cases. He leaves behind a wife, two sons, a daughter, the thousands of students he helped mold, and possibly millions who were influenced by the technologies that he helped develop.
 

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