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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 12 Number 2 -- Reviews

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129661D
Original Publication Date: 1990-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 8 page(s) / 34K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

PAUL CERUZZI: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The Reviews Department features reviews of films, audio and videotapes, exhibits, and publications relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of any technical, economic, business, social, or institutional aspect of the history of computing will be given a complete review. Dissertations, articles, and other studies of interest to Annals readers will be listed in a section on ";Other Literature, "; with full bibliographic citation and notes on its nature and availability. Colleagues are encouraged to participate by indicating their wish to review a work or by suggesting titles to the Reviews Editor. Reviews without a byline are by the editor.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 12% of the total text.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1990 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Reviews

PAUL CERUZZI, EDITOR

The Reviews Department features reviews of films, audio and videotapes, exhibits, and publications relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of any technical, economic, business, social, or institutional aspect of the history of computing will be given a complete review. Dissertations, articles, and other studies of interest to Annals readers will be listed in a section on "Other Literature, " with full bibliographic citation and notes on its nature and availability. Colleagues are encouraged to participate by indicating their wish to review a work or by suggesting titles to the Reviews Editor. Reviews without a byline are by the editor.

REVIEWS

Ceruzzi, Paul E. Beyond the Limits: Flight Enters the Computer Age. Cambridge MA. and London: MIT Press, 1989, xii + 270 pp.

This handsomely produced and lavishly illustrated book has been published to mark the opening of a major new gallery devoted to computers and flight at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Paul Ceruzzi is both the author of this book and the principal curator of the Beyond the Limits exhibit.

The book is written in an easy style intended to be accessible to the casual reader, while at the same time being based on a solid historical foundation. Ceruzzi has succeeded admirably in writing a book that is fascinating reading and in which "the cloak of scholarship is worn lightly." The book contains a good deal of newly researched historical data that makes it a serious contribution to the history of computing. As Arthur Norberg noted in his address to the International History of Computing Conference at Manchester University in July 1989, to date almost all the work done in the history of computing has been on the "supply side," and the "demand side" has been largely neglected. The book under review is one of the first to be published that takes a broad look at one of the major consumers of computing -- the post-war aerospace industry and related defense and space activities.

Ceruzzi's central hypothesis is that, in the United States, computers and aerospace have evolved in a symbiotic and synergistic way:

(Image Omitted: The technology of flight has lived in a symbiosis with that of computing. Yet it is more than a symbiosis, which is usually a static, steady state of affairs. The interaction of the two technologies has propelled each to evolve much faster than each could possibly have evolved separately. Many facets of modern air and space flight would be impossible without computing: the current state of computing would be far less advanced without aerospace. (P. 5))

Ceruzzi opens his story with an account of computing in the early 1950s at Northrop, which he describes as the "midwife of the computer industry." It was, of course, No...