Former Department Head – Dr. Mark Wells – has passed away

Mark Brimhall Wells (June 10, 1929 – October 7, 2018) was a mathematician and computer scientist. He worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (1951-1980; appointed Group Leader of Computer Science Research in 1968), and as Department Head of the Computer Science Department at New Mexico State University (1980-1989).

Dr. Wells received his PhD on Boolean algebra in 1961 from University of California, Berkeley. His research then focused on programming languages and algorithms of early computers and computer chess. He was a co-author of the first chess-playing computer program (Experiments in chess, Los Alamos chess). He was the author of the scientific compiler MADCAP, arguably the first paper describing some concepts behind such tools as Matlab. He was also the co-author of MODCAP, a functional language that shares the imperative and object-oriented features.

His passions included skiing, gardening, hiking, camping, chess, basketball, tennis, sailing, and the outdoors. He was instrumental in the development of the Los Alamos Ski Area (1950’s and 60s) and the Los Alamos Hiking Trails (1990’s).

Dr. Wells is survived by his first wife Martha Lee of Loveland, Colorado, their 4 daughters, 4 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren, and his best friend and surviving wife Linda Wells of Los Alamos, her daughter and their adopted son, 3 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren, 1 great-great-grandchild.

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