The Progression of the Computer

  • Hewlett-Packard Founded

    Hewlett-Packard Founded
    David Packard and Bill Hewlett found Hewlett-Packard in a Palo Alto, California garage. Their first product was the HP 200A Audio Oscillator, which rapidly becomes a popular piece of test equipment for engineers.
  • Period: to

    Important Events regarding the COMPUTER

    Summaries of important events that marked a progression in the advancement of the computer.
  • First Bombe Completed

    First Bombe Completed
    Based partly on the design of the Polish “Bomba,” a mechanical means of decrypting Nazi military communications during WWII, the British Bombe design was greatly influenced by the work of computer pioneer Alan Turing and others. Many bombes were built. Together they dramatically improved the intelligence gathering and processing capabilities of Allied forces.
    (actual date unknown, year- 1939)
  • Complex NUmber Calculator Presented

    Complex NUmber Calculator Presented
    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.
  • Z3 Computer Completed

    Z3 Computer Completed
    The Z3 was an early computer built by German engineer Konrad Zuse working in complete isolation from developments elsewhere. It is called the Z3 because it was the third computer he had constructed.
    (Exact date unknown, year is 1941)
  • Project Whirlwind Begins

    Project Whirlwind Begins
    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. By the time the Whirlwind was completed in 1951, the Navy had lost interest in the project.
  • Harvard Mark-1 is 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. (not actual date, year-1944)
  • First Colossus is Operational

    First Colossus is Operational
    Designed by British engineer Tommy Flowers, the Colossus was designed to break the complex Lorenz ciphers used by the Nazis during WWII. A total of ten Colossi were delivered to Bletchley, each using 1,500 vacuum tubes and a series of pulleys transported continuous rolls of punched paper tape containing possible solutions to a particular code. Colossus reduced the time to break Lorenz messages from weeks to hours. The machine’s existence was not made public until the 1970s. (not actual date)
  • John von Neumann wrote "First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC"

    John von Neumann wrote "First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC"
    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.
  • ENIAC Made Public

    ENIAC Made Public
    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.
  • EDSAC Assembled

    EDSAC 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. (not actual date, year-1949)
  • Manchester Mark I

    Manchester Mark I
    The Manchester Mark I computer functioned as a complete system using the Williams tube for memory. This University machine became the prototype for Ferranti Corp.´s first computer. (not actual date, year-1949)
  • SEAC

    SEAC
    The National Bureau of Standards constructed the SEAC (Standards Eastern Automatic Computer) in Washington as a laboratory for testing components and systems for setting computer standards. The SEAC was the first computer to use all-diode logic, a technology more reliable than vacuum tubes, and the first stored-program computer completed in the United States. (not actual date, year-1950)
  • ERA 1101

    ERA 1101
    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. (not actual date, year-1950)
  • Lyons Electronic Office

    Lyons Electronic Office
    England´s first commercial computer, the Lyons Electronic Office, solved clerical problems. The president of Lyons Tea Co. had the computer, built to solve the problem of daily scheduling production and delivery of cakes to the Lyons tea shops. After the success of the first LEO, Lyons went into business manufacturing computers to meet the growing need for data processing systems. (not actual date, year-1951)
  • IAS Computer Operational

     IAS Computer Operational
    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. (not actual date, year-1952)
  • IBM Ships First Electronic Computer

    IBM Ships First Electronic 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. (not actual date, year-1953)
  • IBM 650

    IBM 650
    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. (not actual date, year-1954)
  • TX-0

    TX-0
    MIT researchers built the TX-0, the first general-purpose, programmable computer built with transistors. (not actual date, year-1956)
  • SAGE

    SAGE
    Semi-Automatic Ground Environment linked hundreds of radar stations in the United States and Canada in the first large-scale computer communications network. An operator directed actions by touching a light gun to the screen. (not actual date, year-1958)
  • 7000 Series Mainframes

    7000 Series Mainframes
    IBM´s 7000 series mainframes were the company´s first transistorized computers. At the top of the line of computers — all of which emerged significantly faster and more dependable than vacuum tube machines — sat the 7030, also known as the "Stretch." (not actual date, year-1959)
  • DEC´s PDP-1

    DEC´s PDP-1
    The precursor to the minicomputer, DEC´s PDP-1 sold for $120,000. One of 50 built, the average PDP-1 included with a cathode ray tube graphic display, needed no air conditioning and required only one operator. (not actual date, year-1960)
  • 81.2-% Share

    81.2-% Share
    According to Datamation magazine, IBM had an 81.2-percent share of the computer market in 1961, the year in which it introduced the 1400 Series. (not actual date, year-1961)
  • LINC

     LINC
    The LINC (Laboratory Instrumentation Computer) offered the first real time laboratory data processing. Designed by Wesley Clark at Lincoln Laboratories, Digital Equipment Corp. later commercialized it as the LINC-8. (not actual date, year-1962)
  • System/360

    System/360
    IBM announced the System/360, a family of six mutually compatible computers and 40 peripherals that could work together. The initial investment of $5 billion was quickly returned as orders for the system climbed to 1,000 per month within two years. (not actual date, year-1964)
  • 6600 Supercomputer

     6600 Supercomputer
    CDC´s 6600 supercomputer, designed by Seymour Cray, performed up to 3 million instructions per second — a processing speed three times faster than that of its closest competitor, the IBM Stretch. (not actual date, year-1964)
  • PDP-8

    PDP-8
    Digital Equipment Corp. introduced the PDP-8, the first commercially successful minicomputer. The PDP-8 sold for $18,000, one-fifth the price of a small IBM 360 mainframe. The speed, small size, and reasonable cost enabled the PDP-8 to go into thousands of manufacturing plants, small businesses, and scientific laboratories. (not actual date, year-1965)
  • Apollo Guidance Computer

    Apollo Guidance Computer
    The Apollo Guidance Computer made its debut orbiting the Earth on Apollo 7. A year later, it steered Apollo 11 to the lunar surface. Astronauts communicated with the computer by punching two-digit codes and the appropriate syntactic category into the display and keyboard unit. (not actual date, year-1968)
  • Nova

    Nova
    Data General Corp., started by a group of engineers that had left Digital Equipment Corp., introduced the Nova, with 32 kilobytes of memory, for $8,000. (not actual date, year-1968)
  • Kenbak-1

    Kenbak-1
    The Kenbak-1, the first personal computer, advertised for $750 in Scientific American. Designed by John V. Blankenbaker using standard medium-scale and small-scale integrated circuits, the Kenbak-1 relied on switches for input and lights for output from its 256-byte memory. (not actual date, year-1971)
  • HP-35

     HP-35
    Hewlett-Packard announced the HP-35 as "a fast, extremely accurate electronic slide rule" with a solid-state memory similar to that of a computer. The HP-35 distinguished itself from its competitors by its ability to perform a broad variety of logarithmic and trigonometric functions, to store more intermediate solutions for later use, and to accept and display entries in a form similar to standard scientific notation. (not actual date, year-1972)
  • TV Typewriter

     TV Typewriter
    The TV Typewriter, designed by Don Lancaster, provided the first display of alphanumeric information on an ordinary television set. (not actual date, year-
  • Micral

    Micral
    The Micral was the earliest commercial, non-kit personal computer based on a micro-processor, the Intel 8008. Thi Truong developed the computer and Philippe Kahn the software. (not actual date, year-1973)
  • 8H Computer

    8H Computer
    Scelbi advertised its 8H computer, the first commercially advertised U.S. computer based on a microprocessor, Intel´s 8008. Scelbi aimed the 8H, available both in kit form and fully assembled, at scientific, electronic, and biological applications. (not actual date, year-1974)
  • Alto

    Alto
    Researchers at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center designed the Alto — the first work station with a built-in mouse for input. (not actual date, year-1974)
  • VDM Prototype

    VDM Prototype
    The visual display module (VDM) prototype, designed in 1975 by Lee Felsenstein, marked the first implementation of a memory-mapped alphanumeric video display for personal computers. (not actual date, year-1975)
  • Altair 8800

    Altair 8800
    The January edition of Popular Electronics featured the Altair 8800 computer kit, based on Intel´s 8080 microprocessor, on its cover. Bill Gates and Paul Allen licensed BASIC as the software language for the Altair. (not actual date, year-1975)
  • Tandem-16

    Tandem-16
    Tandem computers tailored its Tandem-16, the first fault-tolerant computer, for online transaction processing. The banking industry rushed to adopt the machine, built to run during repair or expansion. (not actual date, year-1975)
  • Apple-1

    Apple-1
    Steve Wozniak, a young American electronics expert, and his best friend, Steve Jobs, designed the Apple-1, a single-board computer for hobbyists. (not actual date, year-1976)
  • Apple II

    Apple II
    The Apple II became an instant success when released in 1977 with its printed circuit motherboard, switching power supply, keyboard, case assembly, manual, game paddles, A/C powercord, and cassette tape with the computer game "Breakout." When hooked up to a color television set, the Apple II produced brilliant color graphics. (correct date)
  • Commodore PET

    Commodore PET
    The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) — the first of several personal computers released in 1977 — came fully assembled and was straightforward to operate, with either 4 or 8 kilobytes of memory, two built-in cassette drives, and a membrane "chiclet" keyboard. (not actual date, year-1977)
  • TRS-80

    TRS-80
    In the first month after its release, Tandy Radio Shack´s first desktop computer — the TRS-80 — sold 10,000 units, well more than the company´s projected sales of 3,000 units for one year. (not actual date, year-1977)
  • Model 400 Computer

    Model 400 Computer
    Atari introduces the Model 400 and 800 Computer. Shortly after delivery of the Atari VCS game console, Atari designed two microcomputers with game capabilities: the Model 400 and Model 800. ( not actual date, year-1979)
  • DN100

    DN100
    Apollo Computer unveiled the first work station, its DN100, offering more power than some minicomputers at a fraction of the price. Apollo Computer and Sun Microsystems, another early entrant in the work station market, optimized their machines to run the computer-intensive graphics programs common in engineering. (not actual date, year-1981)
  • Osborne I

    Osborne I
    Adam Osborne completed the first portable computer, the Osborne I, which weighed 24 pounds and cost $1,795. (not actual date, year-1981)
  • Commodore 64

    Commodore introduces the Commodore 64. The C64, as it was better known, sold for $595, came with 64KB of RAM and featured impressive graphics. Thousands of software titles were released over the lifespan of the C64. (not actual date, year-1982)
  • PC clone

    PC clone
    Compaq Computer Corp. introduced first PC clone that used the same software as the IBM PC. With the success of the clone, Compaq recorded first-year sales of $111 million, the most ever by an American business in a single year. (not actual date, year-1983)
  • Macintosh

    Macintosh
    Apple Computer launched the Macintosh, the first successful mouse-driven computer with a graphic user interface, with a single $1.5 million commercial during the 1984 Super Bowl. Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Macintosh included many of the Lisa´s features at a much more affordable price: $2,500. (correct date)
  • PC-AT

    PC-AT
    IBM released its PC Jr. and PC-AT. The PC Jr. failed, but the PC-AT, several times faster than original PC and based on the Intel 80286 chip, claimed success with its notable increases in performance and storage capacity, all for about $4,000. (not actual date, year-1984)
  • Amiga 1000

    Amiga 1000
    The Amiga 1000 is released. Commodore’s Amiga 1000 sold for $1,295 dollars (without monitor) and had audio and video capabilities beyond those found in most other personal computers. It developed a very loyal following and add-on components allowed it to be upgraded easily. (not actual date, year-1985)
  • Artificial Intelligence Jump

    Artificial Intelligence Jump
    Daniel Hillis of Thinking Machines Corp. moved artificial intelligence a step forward when he developed the controversial concept of massive parallelism in the Connection Machine. The machine used up to 65,536 processors and could complete several billion operations per second. (not actual date, year-1986)
  • PS/2

    PS/2
    IBM introduced its PS/2 machines, which made the 3 1/2-inch floppy disk drive and video graphics array standard for IBM computers. (not actual date, year-1987)
  • VAX 11/780

    VAX 11/780
    The VAX 11/780 from Digital Equipment Corp. featured the ability to address up to 4.3 gigabytes of virtual memory, providing hundreds of times the capacity of most minicomputers. (not actual date, year-1988)
  • NeXT

    NeXT
    Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, who left Apple to form his own company, unveiled the NeXT. The computer he created failed but was recognized as an important innovation. At a base price of $6,500, the NeXT ran too slowly to be popular. (not actual date, year-1988)
  • The Atanasoff-Berry Computer is Completed

    The Atanasoff-Berry Computer 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. They two worked on it from 1939 to 1942 but they abandoned the project due to WWII; it was finally completed in 1997.
    (not exact date, year finished 1997)
  • ILLIAC IV

    ILLIAC IV
    The Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contracted with the University of Illinois to build a large parallel processing computer, the ILLIAC IV, which did not operate until 1972 at NASA´s Ames Research Center. (not actual date, year-1966)
  • HP-2115

    HP-2115
    Hewlett-Packard entered the general purpose computer business with its HP-2115 for computation, offering a computational power formerly found only in much larger computers. (not actual date, year-1966)