Dr. William L. Whitson, 68, president of the Washington computer firm of CTE Systems Inc., died Saturday at George Washington University Hospital after a heart attack.

Dr. Whitson had lived in Washington since 1966. In addition to heading CTE, he had worked as systems analyst and consultnt for a number of government and private organizations.

Before coming to Washington, he had been a vice president of the Martin-Marietta Corporation in Denver from 1959 to 1963, where he worked on the development of the Titan missile, and then had served for three years as president of the Clarkson Institute of Technology in Potsdam, N.Y.

Dr. Whitson was a native of Denver. He earned a bachelor's degree at Union College in Lincoln, Neb., a master's degree in mathematics at the University of Nebraska, and a doctoral degree in nuclear physics at the University of Iowa.

He worked in rocket and explosives research with the National Bureau of Standards during World War ii. Following the war, he spent five years teaching physics at the University of California at Berkley and as a physics professor and graduate dean at Pacific Union College in Napa, Calif.

Dr. Whitson first came to this area in 1950. He worked for a number of years as deputy director of the old Operations Research Office at Johns Hopkins University, and worked on tactical weapons projects for the Defense Department.

He also had been strategic studies project director while the Jointt Chiefs of Staff and had worked for the Army at Fort Monroe, Va., and in Germany.

Dr. Whitson was a founder and former president of both the Opeations Research Society of America and the American Astronutical Society.

Survivors include his wife, June, of Washington; a brother, Myron; a son, William, and daughter, Margaret, all of California, and three grandchildren. w

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Andrew University Chair of Sacred Music Endowment Fund, Andrew University, Berrien Springs, Mich.