Howard T. Fisher '26, former professor at the Graduate School of Design and director emeritus of the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis, died of cancer on January 23 in Exeter, N.H. He was 75 years old.
Fisher played a major role in developing concepts of design that underlie such American innovations as the shopping center and the functional modern house.
In his later work, Fisher developed SYMAP, a computer program that produces sophisticated statistical maps, but which requires only comparatively simple computer equipment. SYMAP is now the most widely used computer mapping program.
"He has been a pioneer in the effective use of the computer as a means of communicating the large volumes of information in an easily comprehensible form, to the non-technically oriented user," Allan Schmidt, executive director of the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis, said yesterday.
Fisher was graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in art history in 1926, and then studied architecture at the Graduate School of Design for three years. After more than 30 years of work as a city planner, teacher and researcher, Fisher returned to Cambridge in 1962.
Fisher retired from Harvard in 1974, and lived in Newmarket, N.H. He is survived by his wife and two sons.