The National Business League

Founded by Dr. Booker T. Washington – August 23, 1900


Mark Dean

Mark Dean

Personal computer

Mark Dean co-created the IBM PC, one of the first desktop personal computers released in 1981.

Dean holds more than 40 patents, and his work led to the development of the color PC monitor. Dean was named the first ever African-American IBM Fellow in 1995, and he was elected into the National Academy of Engineering in 2001 for innovative and pioneering contributions to personal computer development.

Dean’s father worked with electrical equipment and introduced him to engineering by taking him on work trips. Dean excelled at math and tutored older kids in trigonometry as a first grader in eastern Tennessee. Dean built his first personal computer in high school in the 1970s before studying electrical engineering in college and getting a job at IBM as an engineer.

At IBM, Dean created a word processor adapter and Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) that allows additional components to be connected to a PC. As chief engineer, his team developed the IBM PC, and then the world’s first gigahertz microchip. The innovative computer that Mark Dean co-invented that enabled the use of plug-in subsystems and peripherals including hard drives, keyboards, speakers, scanners, video gear and disk drives was displayed in the National Inventors Hall of Fame® 2022 exhibit “Breaking Barriers” honoring extraordinary Black inventors.

Dean went on to earn a master’s degree and PhD in electrical engineering, then became a vice president at IBM overseeing the Almaden Research Center, and CTO for IBM Middle East and Africa before retiring from the company in 2013. After IBM, Dean decided to share his knowledge and experience as a professor and he is currently the John Fisher Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Tennessee.

In 2021, Dean was named to the National Artificial Intelligence Research Resource (NAIRR) task force, to fulfill the National AI Initiative Act of 2020’s mandate to guide increased access to computational resources, high-quality data, educational tools, and user support for AI researchers and students across all scientific disciplines.