University of Texas
James C. Browne
June 16, 1935–January 19, 2018

 

 

James Clayton "Jim" Browne


 

James C. Browne

Regents Chair in Computer Sciences 
Professor of Physics 
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

BA Hendrix College 1956
PhD University of Texas at Austin 1960

James C. Browne was born in Conway, Arkansas, on June 16, 1935, to Walter Everett (1895-1971) and Louise Catherine James (1900-1982)Browne. His siblings were Mary Alice Browne (Moritz) and Walter Browne Jr. His father was manager of a hardware store in Conway. Both parents were born in Arkansas. Jim married Patricia Gayle Moseley. They had three children, Duncan James Browne, Clayton Carleton Browne and Valerie Slobhan Browne.

Jim attended Conway High School in Conway, Arkansas, where he participated in football, band and a variety of activities. His picture from his sophomore yearbook is at right.

Follow graduation from high school, Jim enrolled in Hendrix College, a liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas. He graduated there in 1956 and enrolled in the graduate program in physics at the University of Texas at Austin. His supervisor was Professor Albert Matsen. His dissertation was entitled, The Electronic Energy of Helium Hydride.

Gayle Browne owned an antique shop, B&B Antiques on Kerby Lane for many years. Jim enjoyed skiing and jogging.

 

 

 

 

 

James C. Browne was professor emeritus of computer science, research professor at ICES and chief technology officer for the Ranger system at the Texas Advanced Computing Center.

J.C. Browne was Professor of Computer Science and Physics and held the Regents Chair #2 in Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Browne earned his PhD in Chemical Physics at The University of Texas in 1960. He taught in the Physics Department at The University of Texas from 1960 through 1964. He was, from 1965 through 1968, Professor of Computer Science at Queens University in Belfast and directed the Computer Laboratory. During this period he was a frequent visitor to the Atlas Laboratory getting a large quantum chemistry package working on Atlas. He inhabited one of the cells on the bottom corridor complaining about the cold. He got to know the systems programmers well and, later, one of his students from the University of Texas, Wade Shaw, came to work at the Laboratory.

Browne rejoined The University of Texas in 1968 as Professor of Physics and Computer Science. Browne served as Department Chairperson for Computer Sciences at The University of Texas for 1968-69, 1971-75, and 1984-86. Browne's research interests span parallel programming and parallel computation, performance measurement and analysis, operating systems and high level specification languages. Browne has been a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for Lawrence Livermore Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratories, the National Bureau of Standards, the National Science Foundation–Computer Research Section and the DARPA Information Science and Technology Office. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery, the British Computer Society, the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been Chairman of the ACM Special Interest Group on Operating Systems and has been in the past an Associate Editor of several journals. Browne has published approximately 100 papers in computational physics and 200 papers in computer science and has given approximately 100 invited lectures.

Browne’s research over five decades has spanned many domains in computer and computational science including many cross-disciplinary collaborations with physicists and engineers on topics ranging from binary black holes to control systems for prostate cancer treatments. Browne’s current research
interests span parallel programming and computation, performance optimization and fault/failure management for complex systems. One current project is enabling automation of performance optimization for multi-core chips and multi-chip nodes of high-performance computing. The tool implementing this automation, PerfExpert, has been adopted for use at several major high-performance computing centers. Another is automation of fault and failure management for high performance computer systems.

Browne has attained fellow status in five different professional societies across several areas including the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute for Constructive Capitalism. Browne received the 2004 University of Texas at Austin Career Research Excellence Award for maintaining a superior research program across multiple fields over a 45-year career during which he supervised or co-supervised the PhD research of 69 students in four different fields.

In 2000, former students, friends, and colleagues of James C. Browne, in honor of Dr. Browne’s 65th birthday established the James C. Browne Graduate Fellowship Fund. The gifts from family, friends, and colleagues have allowed for two graduate fellowships to be awarded each year since its founding. The fund promotes continued growth and academic strengthening of the best and brightest minds in the field of parallel programming, while ensuring that graduate students in computer science at UT Austin have access to all of the financial resources they need to pursue their studies. At the time of the establishment of the fellowship, James C. Browne was the last of the UT Computer Science founding faculty members still active with the department. He was the first permanent chairperson for the department and served as chair three times. Browne was also the founding director for the computing centre at Queens University Belfast in Northern Ireland. He attained fellow status in five different professional societies and areas: the Association for Computing Machinery, the British Computer Society, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Institute for Constructive Capitalism. Browne published about 500 papers over his 50-year research career and in 2004 received The University of Texas at Austin Career Research Excellence Award for maintaining a superior research program over many years. But the accomplishments of which Browne is most proud are serving as the supervisor or co-supervisor for the graduate studies of 68 PhD students and 65 master’s degree students and for a substantial number of undergraduate honors theses. He has also served on several hundred PhD supervision committees across multiple disciplines.

 


Jim Brown Obituary from Austin American-Statesman, January 25, 2018.

James Clayton Browne, "Jim Browne" to almost all who met him more than once, died peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, January 19th. He is preceded in death by his father, Walter, sister Mary Alice and brother Walter Jr. Survivors include his wife Gayle, son Clayton Browne, son Duncan Browne, and daughter Valerie Bradley.

Jim Browne greatly enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren Vanessa Browne, Megan Bradley, Nickolas Bradley, Duncan James "DJ" Browne, Jr., Austin Browne, and Seth Bradley. He and Gayle were married on July 11th 1959, and they would have celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary later this year.

He graduated from Conway High School in 1952, received a BS in Chemistry from Hendrix College in 1956 and a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 1960. He joined the UT faculty in Physics in 1960, was a Professor of Computer Science at Queen's University of Belfast from 1965 through 1967, and became a tenured professor at UT in 1968.

Jim first heard about "computers" in 1956, and his relentless intellectual curiosity led him to become an elder statesman of the discipline of computer science. He explained to his children and grandchildren he had to use an abacus and slide rule to calculate electron orbits as part of his dissertation research, so when he heard about these amazing new "calculating devices" called computers, he was immediately interested. This interest led to a distinguished career in computer science spanning six decades, including being one of the first faculty members of UT's Department of Computer Science founded in 1966.

Jim and Gayle moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1963 to helps Queens University set up their first real computational center. Although the Brownes were originally scheduled to live in Belfast for a year, Jim quickly became indispensable at Queens, and the family ended up staying in Northern Ireland until 1967.

After the Browne family returned home to Austin, Jim rejoined the UT faculty, became a permanent member of the UT computer committee, and served as the chairperson of the Computer Science Department for a number of years.

Jim was the supervisor or co-supervisor for the graduate studies of 68 Ph.D. students and 65 master's degree students and for a substantial number of undergraduate honors theses. The vast majority of these students went on to successful careers in academia or business.

A devoted husband and father, Jim was known both for his unyielding strength of character and a soft spot for anyone truly in need. Over the years, he literally gave away tens of thousands of dollars to desperate graduate students and family members dealing with serious personal and medical issues.

Jim was a "nerd" before the term was invented. He wore shirts with two pockets filled with pens, glasses and the like from the 1950s until the 1970s when his kids grew old enough to talk a small modicum of fashion sense into him. Self-consciousness was not even on the radar for this sharp-as-a-tack country bumpkin from Conway, Arkansas. He was too busy doing important things like writing a program to help astronomers detect double-binary black holes or heading up the grant-writing team to bring the latest generation of supercomputer to UT Austin.

Jim was a committed caregiver to his wife Gayle for the last three years of his life. His devotion to Gayle and her needs was truly an inspiration to all who knew them. He loved her more than life itself in a very literal sense.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the James C. Browne Graduate Fellowship Fund in Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin. Since his death, family and friends have been sharing and enjoying stories and laughter about Jim Browne. Join us for more of the same at Westwood Country Club on Saturday, February 10th from 4 to 6 pm. Dinner will be served afterwards. A wake will also be held for Jim on February 11th at the Rathgeber/Browne river house on the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels (1366 Sleepy Hollow Lane), one of Jim's favorite places. 

James C. "Jim" Browne Photo Album
James C. "Jim" Browne teaching
1950 Conway High School Football Team, Jim Brown #84 in 2nd row, second from right.
Duncan James Browne, son of Jim and Gayle Browne
Walter Everett Browne, father of Jim Browne
Louise Catherine James Browne, mother of Jim Browne
Mary Alice Browne Moritz, sister of Jim Browne
Mary Alice Browne, age 11
Nagle-Harrington House restored by Jim and Gayle Browne. Home was built around 1915 for James C. and Emily Nagle. Nagle was a very successful civil engineer and served a s dean of the School of Engineering at Texas A&M in 1913. George H. and Zula Harrington lived in the house during the 1940. Harrington was a civil engineer and successful oilman. Jim and Gayle bought the house in 1975 and restored it obtaining historic zoning designation in 2009.