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)

DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar in Conversation with John Markoff @CHM June 11, 2014

Introduction: This CHM conversation (with NY Times moderator John Markoff asking the questions) was more about the challenges faced by Ms Arati Prabhakar, PhD then it was about DARPA. It would've been very appropriate for a Women in Engineering meeting. However, there were several important topics related to Ms Prabhaker's two terms of employment at DARPA, which we've attempted to...

Happy 50th Birthday S/360!

I consider this set of 150 products announced on April 7, 1964, to be the most important introduced by an American company in the 20th century. And I am not alone in that view. How we used computers around the world was shaped directly by these machines and software, including your cell phone. From IBM's perspective, the firm doubled its...

The New Digital Age: Authors Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen in Conversation with Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg at CHM

Introduction: On March 3, 2014, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen (co-authors of The New Digital Age ) engaged in a stimulating conversation with Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg. The event took place at the Computer History Museum (CHM) as part of the museum's Revolutionary series (see description below). This very interesting and wide ranging discussion, was mostly related to the promise...

A Billion Programmers

When I first wrote programs in 1953, there was no software and few programmers. I entered programs in the computer’s binary language (octal notation) directly into the machine’s registers. And the machine was all mine: there was no operating system to allocate its resources among multiple programs or operate the input-output devices. Then, programming aids and compliers evolved, and operating...

Approved IEEE Milestone: Birth of the 1st PC Operating System (CP/M)

Introduction: Gary A. Kildall, PhD (1942 – 1994), developed and then demonstrated the first working prototype of CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) in Pacific Grove in 1974. Together with his invention of the BIOS (Basic Input Output System), Kildall’s operating system allowed a microprocessor-based computer to communicate with a disk drive storage unit and provided an important foundation for the...

Why Care Who Invented the First Computer?

During January some of you might have noticed a running dialogue among historians and other interested parties about who invented the “first” computer. There was no agreement reached on the correct answer to that question. Discussions about “firsts” pop up about every five years, almost like short-lived brush fires on the side of the road as historians travel on to...

Old Software and Games....They're Alive!

Ever get the urge to mess with Visicalc or WordStar again? Play the original Donkey Kong or Adventure on your computer? Now you can! The Internet Archive , in a Christmas gift to the world, has unleashed the Historical Software Archive , a collection of prominent and historically notable pieces of software that you can run in your browser. They...

Computer Pioneer Alan Turing Pardoned by UK for "crime" he didn't commit

The United Kingdom has finally pardoned Alan Turing for a gay sex conviction which tarnished the brilliant career of the code breaker credited with helping win the war against Nazi Germany and laying the foundation for the computer age. Turing’s contributions to science spanned from computer science to biology, but he’s perhaps best remembered as the architect of the effort...

Testimonials to Doug Englebart: Dec 9, 2013 @CHM

Computer visionary Doug Englebart was posthumously honored on December 9th at the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mt View, CA. The date of this event was significant, because December 9 was the 45th Anniversary of the “Mother of All Demos.^” Doug's wife, daughter, and several people that worked with Doug or knew of his work made brief speeches to honor...

Fire Damages Internet Archive Scanning Center

There was a fire at the Internet Archive’s San Francisco scanning center recently. The good news is that no one was hurt and no data was lost. Their main building wasn't affected except for damage to one electrical run which caused them to lose power to some servers for a while. The San Francisco Fire Department was fast and great...

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