The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences is deeply saddened to share the news of the recent passing of NOGI Fellow Mike Cochran (Science 2017).
Mike was a pioneer and true visionary in the field of microprocessing. While working for Texas Instruments, Mike co-invented the world's first microcomputer chip, started the Scientific Calculator Department, and was recognized as TI's most prolific inventor.
Mike started his work in the decompression field while working with NASA. NASA does long, multi-level dives in their Weightless Environmental Training Facility (WETF) - a massive swimming pool that simulates the weightless environment of space - and they needed a better way to calculate decompression obligation. He developed a bulky, underwater diver tracking system that was used by NASA to train in the WETF. He went on to develop a number of decompression computers for the recreational and technical diving communities.
Mike later worked closely with Naval Special Warfare medical leaders and Navy Experimental Diving Unit decompression researchers to incorporate the Navy VVAL 18 decompression algorithm into a dive computer customized for Navy SEAL use. The Cochran Commander was modified to become the Cochran Navy in order to provide optimized decompression calculations for complex, multi-level, multi-gas diving operations conducted by Navy SEALs. This project was successfully completed and in January of 2001, off Barber’s Point in Hawaii, members of SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One made the first open-water decompression computer-based dives in U.S. military history.
Now, 17 years later, the Cochran Navy is a mainstay of Naval Special Warfare diving operations as well as those of other military diving communities. The tactical flexibility that the Cochran Navy has brought to SEAL diving operations has contributed greatly to the success of many classified diving missions of vital importance to the Global War on Terrorism.
Mike is survived by his wife, Joey, his daughter, Kimberly Leonard, his son-in-law, Mark, and 3 grandchildren, Austin, Mandy and Jonny.
Rest in peace to a wonderful friend and dive buddy.
For Michael's obituary please