ALGOL

Begun in 1958 by an international committee, the ACM (Association of Computing Machinery), ALGOL was a hugely influential series of algorithmic programming languages. Culminating in ALGOL 60 in 1960, later languages were heavily influenced by ALGOL’s concepts for lexicon, structure, and syntax. It’s considered the first of the so called...

Burroughs Corporation

The Burroughs Corporation found itself part of computing history in 1953 when it moved into computers for the banking industry. By the 1960s the company had risen to the top of the computing heavyweights, competing with IBM, GE, and RCA in the mainframe market. Like IBM, Burroughs produced all of...

A-0 System

Arithmetic Language version 0 was created by legendary computer pioneer Grace Hopper in the early 1950s. It was the first compiler ever made for an electronic computer, and was written for the the UNIVAC I, which Hopper also had a hand in developing. She began developing A-0 in 1951, and...

IAS Computer

Development of the IAS Computer at the Institute for Advanced Study began in 1945. Designed and built by Alfred von Nuemann based on some earlier concepts, it is also known as the von Nuemann machine. This also spawned the von Neumann architecture, in influential stored-program computing design that is still...

Torpedo Data Computer

The evolution of modern torpedoes goes back to just before the Civil War, when they could only maintain a straight course and preset depth. By the time World War I rolled around, navies around the world had developed a complicated manual procedure using slide rules. During World War II, almost...

IBM Sequoia

This petascale supercomputer built by IBM was deployed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2012. It quickly replaced the K Computer as the world’s fastest, benchmarking 16 petaflops. Running entirely on Linux, it shattered records for highest sustained performance at 10 petaflops. For the first time, a model of...

Pinterest

Launched in 2010 as a closed beta, Pinterest allowed users to gather, organize, and collect images referred to as “pins” by posting them on personalized pages called “boards”.  It was conceptualized in December 2009 by co-founders Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra, using concepts related to visual bookmarking. After...

Cryptolocker

In September of 2013, the Cyptolocker virus is thought to have been posted online. Part of a new class of malicious software called ransomware, it would encrypt infected files and then demand a ransom from users for the decryption key. Spread through email attachments and also distributed by the Zeus...

Vine

Vine was founded in 2012 and in just a few short months was acquired by Twitter after becoming immensely popular with teens and young adults. Created by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll, it allowed users to create short videos up to six seconds long. In January 2013 it...

IBM Simon Personal Communicator

The IBM Simon was the first portable phone that combined modern telephone features with PDA capabilities. It could make cellular calls as well as send/receive faxes, email, and pages. The prototype was unveiled at the 1992 Comdex show and generated a lot of buzz, landing a picture on the front...

The Star7

Developed by Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s, the Star7 was one of the earliest known handheld touchscreen devices. Although it never really made it past the prototype phase , it was innovative for it’s time and is widely considered one of the first PDAs. It sported gesture based interaction,...

Wolfenstein 3D

Developed by id Software in the early 90s and released in 1992, Wolfenstein 3D helped launch a genre that would influence generations of gamers and shape the modern world of video games – the first person shooter. Inspired by the Castle Wolfenstein series by Muse Software, the game was a...

Lynx

Developed in 1992 at the University of Kansas, Lynx was a text based hypertext tool for use as part of a campus wide information server and as a Gopher browser. It was released to UseNet in July, and later added an internet interface the following year. Support for other protocols...

Gopher

Gopher was developed in the early 1990s at the University of Minnesota, and is considered one of the predecessors to the modern web. One of the earliest protocols for searching and retrieving documents over the internet, it was the de-facto engine for online users prior to the rise of web...

Video Toaster

Created by NewTek, the Video Toaster was a software and hardware based tool used for video editing and debuted on the Commodore Amiga 2000 PC in 1990 as an add-on card. It’s ability to work with standard definition video made it a revolutionary hit in television and film production, earning...

ERA 1101

A U.S. Navy team had built some early code-breaking computers during World War II similar to the Colossus machine in Britain. After the war, the group formed Engineering Research Associates (ERA) to continue building computers for the military and commercial sectors. The first “Alpha” models initially funded by the U.S....

Radio Shack

Radio Shack was founded in Boston by brothers Theodore and Milton Deutschmann in 1921. Aimed at the growing field of amateur/ham radio, they opened a storefront and mail order business and named it after the common nickname for the location of a ship’s radio equipment. The first catalog was published...

Xerox 914

Introduced in 1959, the Xerox 914 was the first commercially available paper copier. This completely changed the document copying industry and was shown on national television in a live demo. So named because it could print originals up to 9×14, the 914 was so successful, the company that created it...

Xerography

Electrophotography, or xerography, was Invented by Chester Carlson in 1938 using an originally cumbersome dry photocopying process. Awarded a patent in 1942, it was later renamed to xerography by the Haloid Photographic Company (later Xerox Corporation) who had agreed to jointly develop a commercial product with Carlson. The new name...

Printed Circuit Boards

Printed circuit boards were originally invented in 1936 by Austrian engineer Paul Eisler while working on a radio set. The PCB as it later became known, would revolutionize electronic circuit design and assembly a few decades later. By World War II they were secret technology being used in proximity fuses...

Automatically Programmed Tool (APT)

The Automatically Programmed Tool (APT) programming language was invented at MIT’s legendary Servomechanisms Lab by Douglas T. Ross. The high level code was used to generate instructions for machine tools used in manufacturing. APT is used to calculate a path that a tool must follow to generate a desired form,...

NEAC 1101

Built by NEC in 1958, this was one of Japan’s first digital computers. It used so called parametron devices invented by Goto Eiichi and was the first Japanese computer to do floating point arithmetic. The devices utilized a switching technology similar to magnetic core that was more stable than vacuum...

EDVAC

The EDVAC  (Electronic Discreete Variable Automatic Computer) was one of the earliest electronic computers and is most noted for using binary and stored programs, radical differences to the previous ENIAC system. Designed by Eckert & Mauchly while at the University of Pennsylvania for the U.S. Army’s Ballistics Research Lab on...

Pilot ACE

Based on the full ACE design by Alan Turing, the Pilot ACE was one of Britain’s first computers. Designed at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), it ran it’s first program in May of 1950. Running at a blistering 1 megahertz, it was one of the fastest early computers and despite...

IBM SSEC

The Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator was first introduced to the public on January 27th, 1948. It was a hybrid, made up of a mix of electromechanical relays and vacuum tubes. It was put on display behind a large window in the ground floor of IBM’s New York headquarters, and was...

Plankalkül

One of the first high level programming languages written for a computer, Plankalkül was created by Konrad Zuse in Nazi Germany during World War II. Stemming from his work on the Z1 and Z2, he developed the language between 1943 and 1945. It was a non-von Neumann,  algorithmic  language and...

Facebook

The online social network Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University. Originally it was a student-only site that provided “hot or not” type interaction based on student photos originally called “Facemash”. The site as the world really knows it today launched on Feb. 4th as thefacebook.com....

IBM RoadRunner

The IBM Roadrunner is a supercomputer built for the Los Alamos National Laboratory and is the world’s second fastest supercomputer and the first supercomputer to boast petaflop performance.  A unique system built with off the shelf parts, it achieved 1.026 petaflops on May 25th, 2008. Costing $133 million, it’s also...

da Vinci Surgical System

The da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the U.S. FDA in 2000 and was the product of development and research in the late 1980s by SRI International. In 1991 the National Institutes of Health provided funding and a prototype robotic surgical system was created. This caught the attention of...

Windows Vista

Vista was the first desktop operating system by Microsoft since Windows XP in 2001. It was a radically different architecture from XP and introduced major new features and changes. Released worldwide Jan. 30th, 2007, it was panned by business and consumer users for a number of reasons including poor performance...
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