About Us

The IT History Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of knowledge about the people, products, and companies that together comprise the field of computing.

Since 1978 our organization, and its hundreds of members, have worked toward this goal, and we invite you to contribute your own knowledge and memories on this website! (read more)

Moore's Law Again, and a (Possibly) Naked Emperor

In an earlier post (March 20), I discussed Moore’s Law and its relation to the history of computing. Once again I feel compelled to return to the topic—this time, to discuss its impact, not on computer science and technology, but on its historians. Put simply, historians of technology, including me, find Moore’s Law unnerving. The existence of an exponential growth...

History of Computing--the View from Montana

In an earlier post I mentioned the American Computer Museum of Bozeman, Montana. You can look at its web site for details. Now that the weather is getting warm, it is time for all of us who are interested in computing history to figure out a way to get to Bozeman and see it. You don't really need an excuse...

Science Fiction, Science Fact, and the Future of Computing

Last February I had the privilege of attending a conference on “ Imagining Outer Space,” held in Bielefeld, Germany. I have been to many conferences on the history of rocketry and space travel, and on the social and cultural implications of the Space Age, but none of them were as stimulating as this conference was. A theme present in almost...

What we don't know

An obituary in a recent Washington Post brought back a flood of memories for me, and reminded me of a topic I had been meaning to discuss but had put aside. Samuel S. Snyder is a name that should be familiar to many historians of computing—he authored an article on “Computer Advances Pioneered by the Cryptologic Organizations” for one of...

"Cybernetics is the Universal Solvent of Technology"

Those words were spoken by the late Professor W. David Lewis, of Auburn University, discussing a talk I had given about the relationship of computing to aerospace. We all know the corollary: if you discover a universal solvent, in what container can you hold itFor myself, working at the National Air and Space Museum, this paradox came home forcefully when...

Moore's Law, Steve Case, and YouTube

Moore’s Law is an empirical observation—that the density of computer memory chips doubles about every 18 months, and it has been doing so for the past four decades. Magnetic storage capacity, and to a less-regular extent, processor speeds and telecommunications bandwidth have also been increasing exponentially in a complementary fashion. We all know the results, not just in consumer products...

An Alternative Universe

Within the past decade, the cell phone has spread around the world. The iPod is a permanent appendage to teen-agers, while the Blackberry plays the same role for "grown-ups." All these, of course, are based on the microprocessor, whose architecture in turn is based on computer designs that go back at least to the 1960s. The almost universal adoption of...

Introduction

At first I assumed that everyone out there knows who I am, but perhaps I had better introduce myself. I am Paul Ceruzzi, Curator of Aerospace Computing and Electronics at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum , in Washington, D.C. My interests in the history of computing go back to my graduate school days at the University of Kansas,...

What's a Blog?

A couple of months ago, when I was asked to become a contributor to this blog, my first reaction was, "Right. What's a Blog?" For many years I had been following the writings and software ideas of Dave Winer , who I believe was the "inventor" of the blog. I remember, years ago, when he first described the idea (he...

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