Category Archives: Computing

Spacewar!

Spacewar! Video Games Blast Off. Model of the 1962 PDP-1 computer at this Museum of the Moving Image exhibition. “Spacewar! is a space combat video game developed in 1962 by Steve Russell in collaboration with Martin Graetz, Wayne Wiitanen, Bob … Continue reading

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HAL 9000

“HAL 9000 is a fictional artificial intelligence character and the main antagonist in Arthur C. Clarke‘s Space Odyssey series. First appearing in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically Programmed ALgorithmic Computer) is a sentient HAL/AL 9000-series computer … Continue reading

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The First Computer Musician

Max Mathews with Joan Miller. “In 1957 a 30-year-old engineer named Max Mathews got an I.B.M. 704 mainframe computer at the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N. J., to generate 17 seconds of music, then recorded the result for … Continue reading

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The Lasting Lessons of John Conway’s Game of Life

1969 “In March of 1970, Martin Gardner opened a letter jammed with ideas for his Mathematical Games column in Scientific American. Sent by John Horton Conway, then a mathematician at the University of Cambridge, the letter ran 12 pages, typed … Continue reading

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Cryptanalysis: Martin and Mitchell defection

Close-up of the rotors in a Fialka cipher machine “In September 1960, two U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) cryptologists, William Hamilton Martin and Bernon F. Mitchell, defected to the Soviet Union. A secret 1963 NSA study said that: ‘Beyond any … Continue reading

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Sterling Hall bombing – August 24, 1970

“The Sterling Hall bombing that occurred on the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus on August 24, 1970, was committed by four men as a protest against the university’s research connections with the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. It resulted in … Continue reading

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Katherine Johnson

“Katherine Johnson (born Creola Katherine Coleman; August 26, 1918 – February 24, 2020), also known as Katherine Goble, was an American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics as a NASA employee were critical to the success of the first and … Continue reading

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ARPANET

“The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was an early packet-switching network and the first network to implement the TCP/IP protocol suite. Both technologies became the technical foundation of the Internet. The ARPANET was initially founded by the Advanced Research … Continue reading

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Alphaville – Jean-Luc Godard (1965)

“Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (Alphaville: A Strange Adventure of Lemmy Caution) is a 1965 French New Wave science fiction noir film directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It stars Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Howard Vernon and Akim Tamiroff. The … Continue reading

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“Mother of All Demos”

Bill English preparing for the 1968 Demo. “In the America of 1968, computers weren’t at all personal. They were refrigerator-sized behemoths that hummed and blinked, calculating everything from consumer habits to missile trajectories, cloistered deep within corporate offices, government agencies … Continue reading

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