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Grabbed from alt.folklore.computers

Erik

Site Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 27, 2003
Messages
3,592
Location
San Jose, CA
Many of you may have seen this:

http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/

which is a history of computing at Columbia University. If you haven't,
you might be surprised at how many "firsts" and "biggests" and "fastests"
happened here, especially in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, including (perhaps
arguably):

. The first automatic scientific calculations (1933-34)
. The first computer book (1940)
. The first computer course (1947-1957)
. The first "personal computer" (1948-56)
. The first supercomputer (1950-54)

Herman Hollerith got his engineering degrees here (1879, 1890); the ACM
was founded here (1947), etc etc.

The golden age was 1945-70, when IBM's Watson Scientific Computing
Laboratory was at Columbia. Recently some prominent personalities from
those days have come forward with copious new information, photos,
artifacts, and even a book:

http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/computer.html
"Computer: Bit Slices of a Life" by Dr. Herb Grosch, 600+ pages,
a memoir covering the 1940s through about 1960, full text in HTML.
including material on World War II, Watson Lab, the Manhattan
Project, IBM and its early machines, GE, ACM, NBS, and a great
deal more. This is the Third-Edition-In-Progress. New chapters
might be added from time to time; so far it has 56 (the First
[printed] Edition of 1991 had only 23).

http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/ssec.html
The IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator, designed at
Watson Lab in 1946-47 and installed at IBM headquarters in 1948.
Its calculations were used as the basis for the Apollo moon missions.

http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/norc.html
NORC, the first supercomputer, and the fastest computer on earth for
about ten years (1954-63).

The latter two pages existed before, but are now greatly expanded with text
and pictures. Much else is new besides; I've added a "New / Recent / Updated
Sub-Pages" list at the top for quick access.

Frank da Cruz
Columbia University
 

CP/M User

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Joined
May 2, 2003
Messages
2,981
Location
Back of Burke (Guday!), Australia
Re: Grabbed from alt.folklore.computers

"Erik" wrote in message:

<snip!>

> http://www.columbia.edu/acis/history/norc.html
> NORC, the first supercomputer, and the fastest computer on earth for
> about ten years (1954-63).

> The latter two pages existed before, but are now greatly
> expanded with text and pictures. Much else is new besides;
> I've added a "New / Recent / Updated Sub-Pages" list at
> the top for quick access.

This site seems to be a problem for my computer. I have
no idea how big those black & white picture are in size,
but they just seem to freeze up my computer. Is there an
alternative site?

Anyway I never thought they had supercomputers back
then, but now I know. When you compare this one to
a system of that simular period (e.g. EDSAC) it must be
an absolute monster compared to it. How they have it on
the Fifth Floor is beyond me, I always thought there
wasn't a building that high up which could support it. But
I guess that system goes down another 4 stories! :)

Cheers.
 
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