Significant Computer Evolutions

  • The first calculator was made

    The first calculator was made
    The Complex Number Calculator (CNC) is completed. In 1939, Bell Telephone Laboratories completed this calculator, designed by researcher George Stibitz. In 1940, Stibitz demonstrated the CNC at an American Mathematical Society conference held at Dartmouth College. Stibitz stunned the group by performing calculations remotely on the CNC (located in New York City) using a Teletype connected via special telephone lines. This is considered to be the first demonstration of remote access computing.
  • Konrad Zuse finishes the Z3 computer

    Konrad Zuse finishes the Z3 computer
    Konrad Zuse finishes the Z3 computer. The Z3 was an early computer built by German engineer Konrad Zuse working in complete isolation from developments elsewhere. Using 2,300 relays, the Z3 used floating point binary arithmetic and had a 22-bit word length. The original Z3 was destroyed in a bombing raid of Berlin in late 1943. However, Zuse later supervised a reconstruction of the Z3 in the 1960s which is currently on display at the Deutsches Museum in Munich.
  • The Antanasoff-Berry computer is completed

    The Antanasoff-Berry computer is completed
    The Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) is completed. After successfully demonstrating a proof-of-concept prototype in 1939, Atanasoff received funds to build the full-scale machine. Built at Iowa State College (now University), the ABC was designed and built by Professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Cliff Berry between 1939 and 1942.
  • Project Whirlwind is launched

    Project Whirlwind is launched
    Project Whirlwind begins. During World War II, the U.S. Navy approached the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) about building a flight simulator to train bomber crews. The team first built a large analog computer, but found it inaccurate and inflexible. After designers saw a demonstration of the ENIAC computer, they decided on building a digital computer.
  • Havard Mark-1 completed

    Havard Mark-1 completed
    Harvard Mark-1 is completed. Conceived by Harvard professor Howard Aiken, and designed and built by IBM, the Harvard Mark-1 was a room-sized, relay-based calculator. The machine had a fifty-foot long camshaft that synchronized the machine’s thousands of component parts. The Mark-1 was used to produce mathematical tables but was soon superseded by stored program computers.
  • Created first draft on EDVAC

    Created first draft on EDVAC
    John von Neumann wrote "First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC" in which he outlined the architecture of a stored-program computer. Electronic storage of programming information and data eliminated the need for the more clumsy methods of programming, such as punched paper tape — a concept that has characterized mainstream computer development since 1945.
  • Public gets first look at ENIAC

    Public gets first look at ENIAC
    In February, the public got its first glimpse of the ENIAC, a machine built by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert that improved by 1,000 times on the speed of its contemporaries.
  • The Williams Tube

    The Williams Tube
    The Williams tube won the race for a practical random-access memory. Sir Frederick Williams of Manchester University modified a cathode-ray tube to paint dots and dashes of phosphorescent electrical charge on the screen, representing binary ones and zeros. Vacuum tube machines, such as the IBM 701, used the Williams tube as primary memory.
  • IBM's calculator is computed

    IBM's calculator is computed
    IBM´s Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator computed scientific data in public display near the company´s Manhattan headquarters. Before its decommissioning in 1952, the SSEC produced the moon-position tables used for plotting the course of the 1969 Apollo flight to the moon.
  • The EDSAC is assembled

    The EDSAC is assembled
    Maurice Wilkes assembled the EDSAC, the first practical stored-program computer, at Cambridge University. His ideas grew out of the Moore School lectures he had attended three years earlier.
    For programming the EDSAC, Wilkes established a library of short programs called subroutines stored on punched paper tapes.
  • The ERA 1101 is created

    The ERA 1101 is created
    Engineering Research Associates of Minneapolis built the ERA 1101, the first commercially produced computer; the company´s first customer was the U.S. Navy. It held 1 million bits on its magnetic drum, the earliest magnetic storage devices. Drums registered information as magnetic pulses in tracks around a metal cylinder. Read/write heads both recorded and recovered the data. Drums eventually stored as many as 4,000 words and retrieved any one of them in as little as five-thousandths of a second
  • First tevelesion series

    First tevelesion series
    MIT´s Whirlwind debuted on Edward R. Murrow´s "See It Now" television series. Project director Jay Forrester described the computer as a "reliable operating system," running 35 hours a week at 90-percent utility using an electrostatic tube memory.
  • "Manics"

    John von Neumann´s IAS computer became operational at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J. Contract obliged the builders to share their designs with other research institutes. This resulted in a number of clones: the MANIAC at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, the ILLIAC at the University of Illinois, the Johnniac at Rand Corp., the SILLIAC in Australia, and others.
  • IBM shipped first computer

    IBM shipped its first electronic computer, the 701. During three years of production, IBM sold 19 machines to research laboratories, aircraft companies, and the federal government.
  • IBM's 650 magnetic drum calculator

    IBM's 650 magnetic drum calculator
    The IBM 650 magnetic drum calculator established itself as the first mass-produced computer, with the company selling 450 in one year. Spinning at 12,500 rpm, the 650´s magnetic data-storage drum allowed much faster access to stored material than drum memory machines.
  • Felker and Harris program TRADIC

    Felker and Harris program TRADIC
    Felker and Harris program TRADIC, AT&T Bell Laboratories announced the first fully transistorized computer, TRADIC. It contained nearly 800 transistors instead of vacuum tubes. Transistors — completely cold, highly efficient amplifying devices invented at Bell Labs — enabled the machine to operate on fewer than 100 watts, or one-twentieth the power required by comparable vacuum tube computers.
  • Burroughs calculator manufactor

    Burroughs calculator manufactor
    Burroughs buys Electrodata. Calculator manufacturer Burroughs gained entry to the computer industry by purchasing the southern California company Electrodata Corporation. The combined firm became a giant in the calculating machine business and expanded into electronics and digital computers when these technologies developed. Burroughs created many computer systems in the 1960s and 1970s and eventually merged with the makers of the Sperry Rand (maker of Univac computers) to form Unisys.
  • Ken Olsen led engineers

    Ken Olsen led engineers
    A group of engineers led by Ken Olsen left MIT´s Lincoln Laboratory founded a company based on the new transistor technology. In August, they formally created Digital Equipment Corp. It initially set up shop in a largely vacant woolen mill in Maynard, Mass., where all aspects of product development — from management to manufacturing — took place.
  • Jack Kilby creates first circuit

    Jack Kilby creates first circuit
    Jack Kilby created the first integrated circuit at Texas Instruments to prove that resistors and capacitors could exist on the same piece of semiconductor material. His circuit consisted of a sliver of germanium with five components linked by wires.
  • Jean Hoerni invents Fairchild Camera

    Jean Hoerni invents Fairchild Camera
    Jean Hoerni's Planar process, invented at Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp., protects transistor junctions with a layer of oxide. This improves reliability and, by allowing printing of conducting channels directly on the silicon surface, enabled Robert Noyce's invention of the monolithic integrated circuit.