Doctor Richard Daystrom was one of the most influential Human scientists of the 23rd century. Daystrom, who was born in 2219, was considered a genius in his day, and was compared to such minds as Albert Einstein, Kazanga, and Sitar of Vulcan. He was the inventor of the comptronic and duotronic computer systems.
In 2243, at 24, Daystrom made the duotronic breakthrough that won him the Nobel and Zee-Magnees Prizes. However, he felt under-appreciated by his peers and successors, and resented them for developing improvements based on his work, while he was in essence left behind.
In response, he devoted his full vigor to the development of the multitronic computer system to create a successful artificial intelligence. This culminated in the M-5, a computer system sophisticated enough to smoothly control a starship by itself, possibly precluding the need for organic crews.
In 2268, during the test run with the system on the USS Enterprise, the M-5 started displaying erratic and violent behavior. This included seizing control of nonessential systems, attacking a freighter, Woden, without provocation, reacting to war games with other starships with full strength attacks, jeopardizing 1,600 lives, and resisting efforts to be disconnected.
It was revealed that Daystrom's programming of the system used his own personality engrams as a model for the computer's personality, which included his psychological problems. Unfortunately, Daystrom was mentally unstable and had a nervous breakdown aboard the Enterprise that required him to be subdued, while M-5 was convinced that the deaths it caused required it to commit suicide. Dr. Daystrom was committed to a mental rehabilitation facility in 2268 after the incident. (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer")
None of this appeared to have much impact on the esteem granted Daystrom and his work. The Daystrom Institute, one of the most prominent Federation research centers, was named after him, as was the Daystrom Award. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man")
Background information Edit
Richard Daystrom was played by William Marshall.
According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, "In an early draft of "Booby Trap", Leah Brahms was named Navid Daystrom, presumably a descendant of Doctor Richard Daystrom. Unfortunately, the casting department did not realize that this would require (or at least prefer) a black actress to play the part until after Susan Gibney had been hired. At the suggestion of script coordinator Eric Stillwell, the character was renamed, but the Daystrom tie-in was kept by adding a line that she had graduated from the Daystrom Institute."
Daystrom appears in the novel The Rift by Peter David, as one of the Federation scientists accompanying Kirk on an embassy to the reclusive and advanced Caligar race. He confides that, although many consider his intellect to be undiminished, his confidence has deserted him, making him incapable of any new ideas. In the epilogue to the novel, however, Daystrom combines observations of the Caligar's technology with his previously discarded M-5 research, to produce the forerunner of the 24th century holodeck.