George Daniel Ronkin

George Daniel Ronkin
Computer Scientist
Surrounded by friends and family, George Daniel Ronkin of Santa Clara passed away on Friday, February 7 after a courageous battle with leukemia. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on November 6, 1951, to Raphael and Elizabeth Polhemus Ronkin. George attended public schools in Newark, Delaware and high school at the American International School in New Delhi, India. On graduation in 1969, he received awards for excellence both in advanced physics and the visual arts.
George studied mathematics at Beloit College and earned his master's degree in computer science at the University of Wisconsin in 1976. At that time, he developed deep expertise in operating system design and algorithms, which he applied throughout his professional life. He started his career at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and then moved to the Silicon Valley, where he worked at Viatel, EO, and ClariNet Communications. In 1998, George founded DocQmeta, where, as CTO, he created a unique cluster and classification engine for structuring and characterizing text documents. Most recently, he worked at Panasas on large-scale high-performance computing solutions. Typical of his dedication and drive, he insisted on and participated in several bug fixes and code reviews just days before his passing.
George loved hiking with health-conscious friends to explore the natural beauty of area trails. Among his favorites were the PG&E Trail at Rancho San Antonio and paths across campus to the hills by the Stanford Dish. He also enjoyed reading, listening to music, and playing strategy and board games while engaging friends with his dry humor. Every month for 15 years, he joined his games night group in Santa Clara, cheerfully opining on topics ranging from politics to technology.
George is survived by his sister, Margaret Ronkin of Washington DC, and especially missed by friends throughout the Silicon Valley, who will remember his kind, gentle, discerning, and accepting nature. A memorial service will be held later this year.
Contributions in memory of George Ronkin can be made to the Peninsula Open Space Trust ( or patient services at the El Camino Hospital Cancer Center (

Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Feb. 16, 2014