LINC to the past

Jerome R. Cox Jr. (right), PhD, senior professor in computer science in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, describes the interactive display of the Laboratory Instrument Computer, known as LINC, to Brian Smith in the atrium of Brauer Hall. LINC was developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Lab in 1962, then brought to Washington University in St. Louis — along with its development team — in 1964 by Cox, the founding chair of WUSTL’s Department of Computer Science. LINC transformed biomedical research by integrating computer science with medicine and allowing researchers to program data analysis on the fly. The computer was used to plan radiation treatments, monitor heart arrhythmias and understand new drugs. LINC also was small enough and adaptable enough that it is a contender for the title of the first personal computer, even though it was built before the era of the microchip. For more information about LINC, see the article in the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology’s publication Focal Spot at Other LINC stories can be found at and at The computer will be on display through October, after which it moves to the Saint Louis Science Center.