In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Augustine Gray – ECE faculty member from 1964 to 1980

December 20th, 2019

From: UC Santa Barbara – Office of the Chancellor

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

I regret to share the sad news that Professor Emeritus Augustine Gray of our Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering passed away on October 28.

Professor Gray, known affectionately as “Steen,” was a member of our faculty from 1964 to 1980. As one of the first three faculty members in the department, he helped to establish and advance Electrical and Computer Engineering on our campus, providing a strong foundation for its excellence and stature today. We are grateful for his lasting contributions to our campus, department, and the profession.

He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from MIT, where he participated in the electrical engineering cooperative program with General Electric. During this time, he worked in Menlo Park on the logic design of ERMA (Electronic Recording Machine Accounting), the first major banking computer, built for the Bank of America by the Stanford Research Institute and General Electric. He went on to spend a year as a physics instructor at San Diego State College, teaching electronic circuits, digital design, and digital computers. He then continued his graduate studies at Caltech, where he received his Ph.D. in 1964.

Professor Gray was a dedicated and inspirational teacher and a highly respected colleague who excelled at bringing clarity to complex ideas. Working closely with Professor Glen Culler, among others, Professor Gray made pioneering research contributions to real-time speech communication and processing through digital networks, from local academic networks to the ARPAnet and its successor, the Internet. He also collaborated for many years with UCSB Ph.D. recipient John Markel on the theory and understanding of applications of linear prediction to speech processing. Two of their joint publications won professional awards from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Group on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing and its successor, the IEEE Signal Processing Society. In 1976 they coauthored the classic text Linear Prediction of Speech, which played a fundamental role in the early development of digital speech processing, and in 1982 were elected Fellows of the IEEE for “contributions to the theory of linear prediction and its applications to speech processing.” Together they founded Signal Technology, Inc. (STI), along with Larry Pfeiffer. After he retired from UC Santa Barbara, Professor Gray held roles as Senior Scientist, Vice President, and Executive Vice President of STI through 1988. From 1988 through 1993 he held various positions with derivative companies of STI, after which he became an independent computer consultant.

In addition to his research and teaching activities, Professor Gray held an Advanced Extra Class Amateur Radio License (AA6H), and was an avid reader and walker. He and his wife, Averill, were active supporters of the Get Oil Out (GOO) movement and the Santa Barbara Zoo. In 1994, they retired to Florence, Oregon, where they became active volunteers for the Oregon Coast Humane Society.

We extend our sincere condolences to Professor Gray’s family, colleagues, and friends. Our campus flag was lowered in his honor on November 19.


Henry T. Yang