Marvin Cohen Paull, Professor Emeritus, Department of Computer Science, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey and Pioneering Researcher and Developer of Switching Network Systems at the AT&T Bell Laboratories, NJ
Marvin Cohen Paull was born on May 5, 1929 to Samuel (ne Yampolsky) and Jean Cohen Paull. He grew up with his older sister Deborah, who predeceased him, in Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Queens. Marvin enlisted in the Navy after high school, then used the GI Bill to attend the Clarkson College of Technology where he was awarded the BSEE in 1952. He was a member of Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu.
Marv Paull joined the Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1953, where he worked on the development of the first electronic switching system as well as on magnetic logic, sequential machines and systems, macro assemblers, and compilers. He published many articles in the Bell System Technical Journal. He was co-author of the Paull -Unger theorem in switching theory – “Minimizing the Number of States in Incompletely Specified Sequential Switching Functions” in the IRE Trans Electronic Computers, September 1959, and co-authored “Boolean Functions Realizable with Single Threshold Devices” with E.M. McCluskey in the Proceedings of the IRE, July 1960. He left Bell Labs when his department moved out of state, and joined the computer theory group at RCA Laboratories, while teaching a graduate course on advance programming at Columbia University.
In 1969, Marv Paull joined Rutgers University to help form the expanding graduate program in the Department of Computer Science (DCS). Marvin completed 40 years of service, retiring as Professor Emeritus. At Rutgers Marv Paull worked on programming languages, parallel systems and computer architectures. He taught graduate courses on the Syntax and Semantics of Programing Languages, and the Theory of Finite State Machines as well as many undergraduate courses. He supervised the dissertations of Paul Murphy, John Franco, Barbara Ryder, Marie-Therese Daulard, and Arthur Berman. He authored the book Algorithm Design: A Recursion Transformation Framework, Wiley, 1986, and co-authored the seminal paper “Elimination Algorithms for Data Flow Analysis” with Barbara Ryder (ACM Computing Surveys, September 1986).
Marvin had an enduring love for the early 1960’s folk culture - Dylan and Cohen (especially his “Suzanne”) and Judy Collins and was really a kind and gentle soul. He loved to ski when younger. He often baked challah for family gatherings. Marvin Paull passed away at Parker Memorial Home in Piscataway, NJ on June 14, 2021. He is survived by his two sons, Chris Paull (Diane Shemenski) and Eric Paull and was the former husband of their mother, Charlene Thiel Paull. Marvin encouraged his sons in whatever they chose to do. He is also survived by grandchildren Gerik and Annika Paull in California, nieces Stephanie Myara and Rachel White, and his longtime companion, Susan Marchand and her daughter Shoshana and grandchildren who considered him family. Marvin donated his body to the Anatomical Association at Rutgers Medical School. A memorial will be planned for later in the summer. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen in New Brunswick, NJ or a charity of your choice.