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Comments, Queries, and Debate: ACM 20th Anniversary Meeting Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129626D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 4 page(s) / 24K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Jack Minker: AUTHOR [+2]


Department of Computer Science University of Maryland College Park, Maryland 20742 USA

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Copyright ©; 1989 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Comments, Queries, and Debate: ACM 20th Anniversary Meeting

Jack Minker

Department of Computer Science University of Maryland College Park, Maryland 20742 USA

I would like to provide an addendum to "The 20th Anniversary meeting of the Association for Computing Machinery: 30 August 1967," edited by H. S. Tropp that appeared in the Annals (Vol. 9 Nos. 3/4, 1988, pp. 249270). I believe that the Historical Session at the Anniversary Meeting was the first session devoted to the history of computing at any major computer conference. As Program Chairman for that conference, I can provide some background that was omitted from the article that appeared in your journal. The Conference Chairman for the Anniversary Meeting was Sol Rosenthal, as cited in the article. I was appointed Program Chairman after the originally assigned Program Chairman resigned. Prior to my appointment, the theme for the Conference was to be "The Great Society." In view of the fact that the Conference was to be the 20th Anniversary Meeting of the ACM, I decided that something special should be done to commemorate the event. Therefore, I proposed to my Program Committee that we suggest to the Conference Committee that they rename the Conference, hold an Historical Session as part of the Conference, and develop an exhibition of historical computers and computer devices to be displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in conjunction with the Conference. My Program Committee, and subsequently Sol Rosenthal's Committee, enthusiastically endorsed this idea. The title of the Conference I proposed, and which was accepted, was "Past Is Prologue." It was intended as a double entendre since the Conference was held in Washington, D.C. and it is the motto inscribed on the National Archives Building; it was also intended to convey the idea that computer science sessions consisting of presentations of both the past and the present would be held at the Conference.

The late Herbert R. Koller, a member of the Program Committee, agreed to be in charge of arranging for an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution. This was an extremely complex task as we had to obtain agreement by the Smithsonian Institution for the exhibit, convince major manufacturers and other sources to lend their historical equipment, and complete the work in less than one year. Herb contacted the Smithsonian Institution, obtained their approval, and convinced companies prominent in computer hardware to display their historical equipment at the Smithsonian. Herb also knew someone in New Jersey, I think, who had a barn full of computer equipment of historical interest. This person, with Herb's persuasion, lent part of his historical collection for the exhibit.11

Since Herb was making almost all of the contacts to obtain equipment, we thought it app...