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IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 17 Number 3 -- Reviews

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129899D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Sep-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 11 page(s) / 46K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

PEGGY KIDWELL: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The Reviews department includes reviews of publications, films, audio- and videotapes, and exhibits relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of technical, economic, business, social, and institutional aspects or other works of interest to Annals readers are briefly noted, with appropriate bibliographic information.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 8% of the total text.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Reviews

PEGGY KIDWELL, EDITOR

The Reviews department includes reviews of publications, films, audio- and videotapes, and exhibits relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of technical, economic, business, social, and institutional aspects or other works of interest to Annals readers are briefly noted, with appropriate bibliographic information.

Colleagues are encouraged to recommend works they wish to review and to suggest titles to me Reviews editor.

P.A. Kidwell and P.E. Ceruzi, Landmarks in Digital Computing: A Smithsonian, Pictorial History, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C., 1994, ISBN 1 -56098-311 -6, 148 pp., $15.95.

This is a rather small paperbound introduction to the key artifacts in the (calculating and) computing field. The authors, who are well known to readers of the Annals, are leaders in the history of computing and they have produced a very nice book.

The main part of the book (about 100 pages) is a succession of brief vignettes of key developments in the technology of digital computing. Most of the descriptions are accompanied by photographs of either the equipment or the people who developed the equipment. first is a chapter on devices that don't compute but which aid humans who do compute (quipu, abacus, Napier's rods, slates, and mathematical tables). Next is a chapter on machines that begins with the Jacquard loom, which doesn't calculate but which provides a programmable control capability. This chapter then covers several calculators, including stylus-operated adding machines, the Thomas Arithmometer, key-driven adding machines, the Scheutz difference engine, Baldwin and Odhner pinwheel calculators, the Burroughs adding machine, and the Ritty cash register.

The third chapter shows several electromechanical devices, Hollerith and IBM tabulating machines, the Enigma and Bombe ciphering and deciphering machines, totalisator machines for the calculation of racing odds, and two pre-electronic computers: the Automatic Sequence- Controlled Calculator (a.k.a. Harvard Mark I) and the Bell Labs Model V relay calculator.

The next two chapters deal with early computers. First, Chapter 4 considers early electronic computers, including the ENIAC, IAS computer, Whirlwind, Univac I, and IBM System/360. Then Chapter 5 considers minicomputers, including two with great commercial acceptance, the DEC PDP-8 and the DEC VAX, and three for specialized applications, the Gemini, Minuteman, and Apollo guidance computers.

Chapter 6 examines electronic calculators, including the HP-9100 desk calculator and a succession of pocket calculators such as the HP-35, Bowmar Brain, TI SR-10, and HP-41CV. These electronic calculators provide quite a contrast to the mechanical calculators of Chapter 2. Next comes the first succes...