Father Roberto Busa

Roberto Busa was born in Vicenza on November 28th 1913. He was the second of the five children of Carlo, an officer of FF. SS. [the Italian National Railways], and Silvia Prior. He attended primary school in Bolzano and grammar school first in Verona, at the Institute "Scipione Maffei", and then in Belluno, at the Institute "Tiziano Vecellio". From 1928, in the Episcopal Seminary of Belluno, he attended high school and took the first two-year course of Theology with Albino Luciani, later elected Pope under the name Giovanni Paolo I. On September 11th 1933 he joined the "Compagnia di Gesü", where he got a diploma in Philosophy in 1937 and one in Theology in 1941 and where he was ordained priest on May 30th 1940. From 1940 till 1943 he was an auxiliary army chaplain in the National Army and later in the partisan forces. In 1946 he graduated in Philosophy at the Papal Gregorian University of Rome with a degree thesis entitled "The Thomistical Terminology of Interiority", which was published in 1949. He was full professor of Ontology, Theodicy and Scientific Methodology and, for some years, a librarian in the Faculty of Philosophy "Aloisianum" of Gallarate. In 1946 he planned the Index Thomisticus. In 1949 he started some experiments in linguistic automation at the New York and Milan head offices of IBM, where he was assured of the assistance of Mr Paul Tasman from New York. The "Centro Automazione Analisi Linguistica" (CAAL), the "Comitato Promotore" and the "Collegio d'Iniziativa" were founded in order to administer the information which came out of this. The operations were carried out in Gallarate and in Milan until 1967, in Pisa till 1969, in Boulder (Colorado) till 1971 and, for the next nine years, in Venice, where, from 1974 till 1980, the photocomposition of the 70,000 pages forming the 56 encyclopaedic volumes of the Index Thomisticus was accomplished using IBM computers. The stages of the international promotion of the methods followed are marked by the 110 conferences which Father Busa took part in actively in a period of forty years in three continents. In 1983 the new "Associazione per la Computerizzazione delle Analisi Ermeneutiche e Lessicologiche" (CAEL), which has its seat inside the Faculty of Philosophy "Aloisianum" of Gallarate, succeeded the CAAL. At the University of the Sacred Heart of Milan Father Busa founded the "Gruppo Interdisciplinare per le Ricerche della Computerizzazione dei Segni dell'Espressione" (GIRCSE), taught seminars on Thomistical Lexicography and Lexicology and currently teaches Linguistic Information Science. He also teaches Computer Analysis of Texts and Thomistical Hermeneutics at the Papal Gregorian University of Rome.

For his publications, click here.