Until recently, across a half-century perhaps fewer than a dozen people had ever had the opportunity to read Dennis Ritchie’s dissertation—the intellectual and biographical fork-in-the-road separating an academic career in computer science from the one at Bell Labs leading to C and Unix. Why?
Charlie Bourne was an expert in computerized search for 40 years before Google. CHM has recently finished cataloging his unique collection of materials documenting the history of online search and information systems from the 1950s onward, supported by a generous grant from the National Archives.
The discovery of the Whirlwind’s Blackjack contributes to the historical record of games being created and implemented on early electronic digital computers from the late 1940s and early 1950s. As part of a project to restore Whirlwind software, we’ve recovered the game from original tapes in the CHM archive.
In celebration of Unix’s 50th anniversary, the CHM Software History Center is delighted to make publicly accessible for the first time some of the earliest source code produced in the Unix story.
Robert W. “Bob” Bemer - who worked at Lockheed's Missile Systems Division in Van Nuys and who would become its IBM 650's power user - carefully cut out the article and placed it into a scrapbook. In 2018, through its Access to Historical Records grant from the National Archives' National Publications and Records Commis
The photograph was dated 1950, a date when a now unimaginably small number of humans had ever beheld a computer, no less touched one, and when unabashed racism and discrimination was endemic on the American scene. Who was the young African-American man who nevertheless sat at the controls of this storied machine? What
While trying to decipher the notes in Gordon’s cryptic scrawl, something familiar about the arrangement of the rectangles triggered my Madeleine Moment. This was the Rosetta Stone to the device types in that 1967 photograph and the first five appeared to match the years of the devices on the plot of Figure 2 from the 1
One of the most significant figures along the path to the development of automatic computation was a French weaver and merchant born during the reign of Louis XV—Joseph Marie Jacquard. CHM's J. M. Jacquard portrait was “adopted” by first-time donor Junfeng Pan. Thanks to his generosity, our portrait will undergo much n
Sixty-seven years to the day after the television debut of Whirlwind’s “Jingle Bells,” we offer you this restoration of the program from the original punched paper tape at CHM, recovering an overlooked early piece of the rise of computer music from the auditory maintenance of early electronic digital computers.
Although much of Whirlwind was lost when the machine was decommissioned, the Computer History Museum and the MIT Museum retain many of the machine’s components, some of which are on display in CHM’s permanent exhibition, Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing.