UB Computer Science Professor And Former Chair Dies At 75

Release Date: August 13, 1998 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15, for Patricia James Eberlein, professor emerita and former chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University at Buffalo, who died in her Buffalo home on Tuesday, Aug. 11, from lung cancer. She was 75.

Eberlein was one of the first faculty members, and the only woman, hired when the department was formed in 1967.

She served as chair of the department from 1981-84 and was acting chair from 1971-72, the only woman to hold those positions in the department.

While she was chair, Eberlein significantly increased the amount of sophisticated computer equipment in the department, propelling it -- and the university -- into the technological forefront.

Before coming to UB, she was a mathematician at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where she worked on the "Electronic Computer Project" that led to the development of one of the first computers ever constructed.

Eberlein also was an assistant professor at the University at Rochester and associate director of its Computing Center.

Her research interests were focused on algorithms for linear algebra, parallel algorithms for numerical computations and combinatorial and graph algorithms. Her work was supported by the National Science Foundation.

Described by a colleague as "the most fascinating person I've ever met," Eberlein did not limit herself to the academic world. She had a stint as a fashion model and piloted airplanes to military bases from their manufacturing plants during World War II. She also lived for a time on an Indian reservation.

Eberlein often spoke on panels about the need to attract more women to study mathematics and computer science.

She held visiting professorships at Oxford and Cornell universities and was a visiting senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, supported by a National Science Foundation fellowship.

A member of numerous professional societies, she was active in the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Mathematical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Women in Mathematics.

A graduate of the University of Chicago, she earned master's and doctoral degrees from Michigan State University.

She is survived by seven children, 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Eberlein was the widow of William Eberlein, a member of the mathematics faculty at the University of Rochester.

The memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15, in Unitarian Universalist Church, 695 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo.

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