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VITA Hall of Fame

Since the announcement of VMEbus in 1981 there have been a great number of people and ideas that have had an impact on the development and advancement of open standards used in critical embedded computing systems. The intention of the VITA Technologies Hall of Fame is to honor and preserve the remembrance of those people and technologies that have had the greatest influence on the VITA open standards industry. Many others are to come – innovators and influencers who have made a significant impact on developing, designing, creating the technology, and ferrying the technical specifications into open standards. These are the people who have overcome the technical and procedural problems, the products that set new expectations. It is our pleasure to honor these primary contributors to this industry.

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  • Saturday, February 15, 2014 10:30 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: February 2014

    John Black, Craig MacKenna, and Cecil Kaplinsky developed the first draft of the VMEbus specification. John spent the first 13 years of his career in the rapidly emerging microcomputer industry, as a Motorola hardware/software engineer, project engineer, and engineering department manager.

    During that time he also helped author the VMEbus specification, which was eventually adopted as an IEEE, ANSI, and ISO standard, and currently serves as the primary multiprocessing backplane architecture for the U.S. Military and NATO. A VMEbus-based system also serves as the heart of the Mars Rovers Opportunity and Spirit.

    In 1985 John left Motorola to found his own company (Micrology pbt, Inc) to work with start-up companies seeking to offer leading edge embedded multiprocessing computer systems, based on the VMEbus standard.

    At the same time he and two partners launched a technical publishing company (OpenSystems Publishing) to promote the development of open standards, and to assist start-up companies in introducing products based on those standards. In addition to his partner responsibilities, John served as Editor-In-Chief of VMEbus Systems magazine and Real-time Engineering magazine. OpenSystems Publishing (now called OpenSystems Media) is currently a leading publisher of embedded computing industry journals.

    In 2003 John joined Arizona State University as a Research Scientist, to help launch the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing and the iCARE project, which conducts research aimed at the development of assistive technologies for people who are blind.

    In 2010 John mentored a team of students who won first prize in the 2010 Microsoft World Imagine Cup Competition, and in 2011 he mentored another team of students who won second prize in the competition.

    Key Contributions
    • John Black, along with Craig MacKenna and Cecil Kaplinsky, developed the first draft of the VMEbus specification
    • Started his own company, Micrology pbt, Inc to work with start-up companies seeking to offer embedded multiprocessing computer systems based on the VMEbus standard
    • Helped launch OpenSystems Publishing (now called OpenSystems Media), which publishes VITA Technologies magazine and other embedded technology magazines
  • Saturday, February 15, 2014 10:00 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: February 2014

    Wayne Fischer was working as Motorola’s 68000 microprocessor expert for Silicon Valley in 1981 and became involved with the VME strategy as part of Motorola’s plans for expanding the new CPU’s market. As Fischer recalls, “VME was a means to an end, not an end unto itself.”

    Wayne went to Force Computers in 1983. He headed the IEEE working group for the U.S. VMEbus standard, IEEE 1014, gaining final approval in 1987. He fully retired in January of 2000 and moved to Lake Tahoe to enjoy the beauty of the area, remaining active in the local community.

    Key Contributions
    • Wayne is credited for taking some of the best attributes of Futurebus and spearheading the effort to evolve VME64 into VME64x
    • Wayne headed the IEEE working group for US VME standard, IEEE 1014, gaining final approval in 1987
  • Saturday, February 15, 2014 9:30 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: February 2014

    Craig MacKenna, Cecil Kaplinsky, and John Black developed the first draft of the VMEbus specification. Craig was the designer of Mostek’s first VME processor board but has not been heard from in recent years.

    In October 1981, at the System ‘81 trade show in Munich, West Germany, Motorola, Mostek, Signetics/Phillips, and Thomson CSF announced their joint support of the VMEbus.

    Craig MacKenna was the chief technical representative from Mostek in the discussions with Motorola and Signetics that led to the VMEbus. He was later the designer of Mostek’s first VME processor board. After that, he “hung in” through several years of tedious standardization efforts that led to IEEE 1014 and IEC 821, which are official specs describing the VMEbus.

    Key Contributions
    • MacKenna was the chief technical representative from Mostek in the discussions with Motorola and Signetics that led to the VMEbus
    • He was the designer of Mostek’s first VME processor board
    • MacKenna, along with John Black of Motorola, and Cecil Kaplinsky of Signetics, developed the first draft of the VMEbus specification
  • Saturday, February 15, 2014 9:00 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: February 2014

    Cecil Kaplinsky, along with Craig MacKenna and John Black, developed the first draft of the VMEbus specification. Cecil, who was at Signetics at the time of the launch of VMEbus, went on to a career of IP development but it appears that he passed away in 1999.

    From 1988 to 1991, Cecil Kaplinsky was the VP of engineering and research and development for Plus Logic (later sold to Xilinx), which he founded.

    Kaplinsky then went on to become Corporate VP and CTO of Cradle Technologies, a venture-funded fabless semiconductor company founded in 1998, which invented a new single-chip microprocessor platform called the Universal Microsystem (UMS). Kaplinsky was responsible for researching, staffing, and developing UMS.

    Prior to Cradle, Kaplinsky spent seven years developing and selling intellectual property to companies such as Atmel, Micro Linear, Motorola, and Cirrus Logic.

    He has 32 patents issued. They can be viewed here:

    Key Contributions
    • Kaplinsky, along with John Black and Craig McKenna, developed the first draft of the VMEbus specification in 1981.
    Employment History
    • 1988 - 1991: Founder and VP of Engineering and Research/Development, Plus Logic 
    • 1992 - 1998: Developing/selling intellectual property 
    • 1998 - 1999: Corporate VP and CTO, Cradle Technologies
    • University of Cape Town
  • Friday, November 15, 2013 9:00 AM | Jerry Gipper (Administrator)
    Induction: November 2013

    For 20 years John was the oil that made the VITA Standards Organization (VSO) machine run smoothly. He oversaw the members’ development of more than 70 ANSI-recognized standards that are part of critical embedded systems used throughout the world. Under John’s guidance, the VSO became ANSI accredited, becoming the benchmark organization for many of its policies and procedures. John personally trained hundreds of engineers on the VMEbus specification that set the standard for open standards. He has done all of this tirelessly and effectively over his years of service to the industry. For his contributions, John is the first inductee into the VITA Technologies Hall of Fame.

    John Rynearson was a co-founder of Mizar in 1982 and took on the role of vice president of engineering. In 1987 John took on his first leadership role at VITA as chairman of the VITA software subcommittee. The committee had the challenge to work on a Real-time Kernel Interface Definition (RKID), unifying the many different options in real-time kernel interfaces that existed at the time.

    In December of 1993 John became the technical director of VITA, starting a 20-year career with the company. In his role as technical director, John has patiently participated in countless VITA Standards Organization (VSO) meetings, working group conference calls, and ANSI audits. He also maintained the VITA website and for several years authored the standards update columns in VME and Critical Systems magazine.

    Key Contributions
    • Transitioning VITA from paper to the Internet as the VITA website administrator
    • Conducting VMEbus training courses
    • VITA standards administrator, managing the members’ development of more than 70 ANSI-recognized standards
    • Instituting ANSI procedures and implementing the ANSI process that enabled ANSI accreditation for VITA specifications
    • Administering regular ANSI audits of the VITA policies and procedures
    • Overseeing VITA’s ITAR and patent policies, including implementing the ex-anti patent policy that makes VITA a leader in such policies as it applied to standards developer organizations
    • Secretary of VITA Board of Directors
    • Administrator for VITA conferences such as Bus and Board, CoolCon, and Military Embedded Electronics and Computing Conference (MEECC)
    • Handling countless questions on VITA specifications
    Employment History
    • 1993 - 2014: Technical Director, VITA
    • 1982 - 1992: Vice President of Engineering and Founder, MIZAR
    • 1965 - 1969: Purdue University, Masters in Electrical Engineering

    "I have been truly blessed to have John as the technical director of VITA during my tenure. It has been a privilege to work with John. I have great respect for his integrity and skills, and I could not have asked for a better person to be the technical director of VITA."

    Ray Alderman, VITA, Executive Director

    "I have enjoyed working with John over the past nine years. His intimate knowledge of the VSO’s policies and operations coupled with his amazing organizational skills have been crucial in helping me to fulfill the roles and responsibilities of Chairman, and are directly responsible for the smooth operation of the organization. I wish John all the best in his retirement."

    Dean Holman, Chairman of the VITA Standards Organization and Director of Global Support Services and Sustaining Engineering at Mercury Systems

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