History of Computing in the Twentieth Century

  title={History of Computing in the Twentieth Century},
  author={John Howlett and Gian-Carlo Rota and Nick Metropolis},
  journal={Technology and Culture},
In the summer of 1976 a group of computer pioneers were invited to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory to record their views of the early history of computing. This book is both the reuslt of that conference and the subsequent collection of supplementary articles by the editors. The book does not really represent the record of that international conference; instead, it stems from the conference and attempts to fill in some of the gaps that remained and that either could not be filled by the… 
Professor Brian Randell and the History of Computing
  • P. Ceruzzi
  • Computer Science
    Dependable and Historic Computing
  • 2011
Professor Brian Randell played a role in filling the gaps that remained, including the history of software, and information about the once-secret British "Colossus" in the following decades.
Discussion on the code-breaking computers of 1944
The meeting was arranged by Professional Group S7, ‘History of Technology’, under the chairmanship of Dr. Arnold Lynch, to discuss the development and impact of the very earliest computing devices
Advent of Electronic Digital Computing
  • J. Atanasoff
  • Computer Science
    Annals of the History of Computing
  • 1984
The author touches on the nebulous beginnings of his interest in computing, and how, when specific problems arose, the computers of the day were used and analyzed. The first choice he made was
Dijkstra's Rallying Cry for Generalization: The Advent of the Recursive Procedure, Late 1950s-Early 1960s
Some early contributions of Dijkstra are described by elaborating on his involvement in putting forward and implementing the recursive procedure as an ALGOL60 language construct and his generalizing style of solving problems.
A Course in the History of Computation
The development and evolution of the course is described, which is intended to show how the process of calculating has been performed throughout history, as well as the people, events, and forces involved in the development of the electronic computer.
From Analytical Engine to Electronic Digital Computer: The Contributions of Ludgate, Torres, and Bush
  • B. Randell
  • Art
    Annals of the History of Computing
  • 1982
This paper, based on an invited lecture given at MIT in March 1980, discusses the little-known work of Percy E. Ludgate, Leonardo Torres y Quevedo, and Vannevar Bush, who were all directly influenced by know/edge of Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine.
Computer graphics in the UK: a few people, places and events
This article is based on an unpublished talk given by the authors at the Eurographics UK Chapter Conference, held in Swansea on Apri l 4-6, 2000, and is derived partly from personal recollection and partly from an exploration of the older computer literature in the library at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the former employer of both authors.
Toward a history of (personal) workstations
I originally accepted this keynote honor for five reasons: to respond to Alan Perlis' request, to identify the important artifacts that should be preserved in The Computer Museum, to posit a framework of the history of workstations that can be written in the next century, and to summarize my own involvement on interactive computing.
Doing mathematics on the ENIAC. Von Neumann's and Lehmer's different visions
It is stressed that the computer was in fact, from its very beginning, conceived as a mathematical instrument per se, thus situating the contemporary usage of the computer in mathematics in its proper historical background.
Scientific uses of the MANIAC
This is the story of how Nick Metropolis came to build the MANIAC and about the scientific uses to which it was put in the early days of electronic computing. Among the illustrious scientists


On Alan Turing and the Origins of Digital Computers
Evidence is presented that during the war he was associated with a group that designed and built a series of special purpose electronic computers, which were in at least a limited sense ‘program controlled’, and that the origins of several post-war general purpose computer projects in Britain can be traced back to these wartime computers.
Passages from the Life of a Philosopher
The mathematician and engineer Charles Babbage (1791–1871) is best remembered for his 'calculating machines', which are considered the forerunner of modern computers. Over the course of his life he
On the Mathematical Powers of the Calculating Engine
The object of the present volume is to show the degree of assistance which mathematical science is capable of receiving from mechanism. I may possibly in a separate work describe minutely the
A Machine for the Rapid Summation of Fourier Series
A machine is described which is capable of performing automatically the process of Fourier synthesis by the methods used in X-ray crystallography by Beevers and Lipson, the Fourier terms being added
Some future social repercussions of computers
The prehistory and history of computers and programs are briefly reviewed and are used as a basis for predicting the future. Computers are classified into thirteen generations of which the last five
Proposals for Development in the Mathematics
  • Biology
Here real-time symmetries are used to argue that online algorithms can be made secure, pervasive, and interactive.
Ten Years of Computer Development
The safety seat track construction comprises a track, a seat supporting slide movable longitudinally on the track, and a safety strap extending transversely over the slide adjacent the rear end thereof to limit upward motion of the Rear end of the slide in the event of collision.
A “Scale-of-two” High-Speed Counter Using Hard Vacuum Triodes
A high-speed recording counter circuit is described which has proved very reliable. The basic circuit element employs two triodes in a symmetrical circuit which has two stable conditions. The circuit
War of wits
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