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Computer History

Museum archive traces

industry's early days

The history of computers is fascinating. Here’s a museum devoted to compute history. Computer History Museum archive traces industry's early days Immense trove of records now available to the public After three years of effort, the Computer History Museum is ready to share a vast new archive of documents detailing the development of the modern computer. Photo provided by Computer History Museum   Sara Lott is intimately familiar with the marvelous feats that computers can accomplish -- but the immense archive of data she needs to process can only be done by humans. As the senior archives manager at the Computer History Museum, Lott has been working to sort through a massive collection of old documents spanning the early decades of the Information Age, mostly from 1945 through 1998. This trove includes corporate memos, business plans, research notes and marketing materials from bygone companies and message boards. After three years of effort, Lott and her team are ready to share their new archive with the public. This collection is now being made available for any researchers or amateur scholars out there interested in learning more about the development of the modern computer. "This is a huge step forward for us," Lott said. "This archive is open to anyone with an interest ... but if you don't have an idea what you're looking for, you'll probably be overwhelmed." It was a daunting job from the start. The records totaled about 1,000 boxes of documents, a paper stack nearly high enough to rival the Empire State Building. Back in 2014, Lott and her team had received a $275,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to process the collections. Indexing these records might seem deceptively simple for today's computer users -- just put them all into a database and let character- recognition tools make the content easily searchable. That wouldn't work, Lott warned. Many of these papers were handwritten or would be unclear without any context. Plus, scanning the materials would be a grueling endeavor that could damage irreplaceable documents. Click the link below for more info in the computer muiseum. Read more...  

The Evolution and History of Computer Technology

Even though computers have now become an integral part of human life, a time existed when computers were not there. Understanding the history and progress associated with computers can make you realize how innovative and complicated computers really are. While most devices have a specific inventor, such is not the case with computers. That is because through the development phase a number of people have contributed to making a computer work. Certain inventions were different kinds of computers, while others were various parts needed for further development. The first few steps In the entire history of computers, probably the most important year is 1936. This is the year when the development of the first real computer was complete. The computer was named Z1, and it was invented by Konrad Zuse. It was a fully programmable computer. While a few devices were developed before Z1, they did not have any significant computing power. It was only in the year 1942 that a business saw opportunity or profit in the world of computers. The company was known as ABC computers, and it was controlled by Clifford Berry and John Atanasoff. Two years down the road the computer Harvard Mark I was created. During the next years, inventors form throughout the world started taking interest in computers, looking for ways to improve them. The transistor, a significant part of inner computer workings, and ENIAC 1, the computer, were developed during those years. What made ENIAC 1 really interesting was the fact that it needed 20,000 vacuum tubes for operation. The machine was huge, and it practically created the revolution of trying to build faster and smaller machines. In the year 1953, IBM or International Business Machines, was introduced which altered the world of computers forever. Throughout the history, IBM has proved to be a major force in developing private and public servers and various new systems. Their initial computing contribution was called the IBM 701 EDPM. The introduction of IBM contributed to an environment of competition in the industry, which aided in better and faster development of new things. Evolvement of a language After a year, the first ever high level language of programming was introduced. The language was not written in binary or assembly. Instead, the FORTRAN language was written in a way that most folks could start programming computers without much effort. In 1955, General Electric, Stanford Research Institute and the Bank of America together created the first batch of computers for bank use. The Magnetic Ink Character Recognition or MICR, combined with the computer ERMA, could be considered a breakthrough. It was 1959 when the system pair was first put t use in real banks. It was 1958 when one of the biggest breakthroughs occurred. That year, the integrated circuit was developed. Popularly termed as the chip, this device is a base need for new age computers. On motherboards and cards inside a computer, numerous chips exist that consist of information regarding what the cards and boards do. Without the chips, today’s systems cannot even function.