May 30, 2011 AT 1:28 pm

Tom West

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Tom West Dies at 71; Was the Computer Engineer Incarnate

Tom West, a shy computer engineer who became an unlikely symbol of high tech to multitudes of general-interest readers as leader of the engineering team portrayed in Tracy Kidder’s book “The Soul of a New Machine,” died on May 19 at his home in Westport, Mass. He was 71.

Mr. West and his team of engineers at the Data General Corporation, in Westborough, Mass., developed a 32-bit microcomputer that briefly led the field of digital processing in the early 1980s, when the computer industry was poised between the eras of the mainframe and the PC.

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