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The Industrial Era

1963 - 1964

Important events: the first computer game is designed, Moore's law is defined, ASCII becomes a standard, the first general purpose computer language.


pre history | antiquity | pre industrial era | industrial era

1947 1949 1950 1952 1955 1958 1961 1963 1965 1969 1970 1972 1974
1976 1978 1980 1981 1982 1984 1986 1989 1991 1993 1994 1996 2000
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pre history
pre-industrial era
Industrial era




In this year ASCII is introduced: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. This code is developed by both the USA government and the computer industry. It is Bob Bemer who is the chief designer for the ASCII code.

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The ASCII code will be the standard character coding for years to be.
The importance of the  universal code is that hitherto every computer manufacturer had his own coding. So only via a translation table computers could exchange data. By using the ASCII code no such tables of programs were needed anymore and computers of all brands could exchange their data. This was a first in standardization.

ascii alphabet
The ASCII alphabet

On the basis of an idea of Alan Turing's, Joseph Weizenbaum at MIT develops a "mechanical psychiatrist" called Eliza that appears to possess intelligence.

The audio compact cassette is invented by Philips a consumer electronic manufacturer in the Netherlands. The compact cassette is the spin off from a product made by Philips for a dictaphone where engineers have put a tape into a cassette.

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This tape will become the storage medium for many home computers to come in the next two decades.

The first graphic consoles DAC-1 by General Motors and Sketchpad by MIT Lincoln laboratories are developed. Sketchpad uses the first lightpen developed by Ivan Sutherland.

Douglas Engelbart starts research on the computer mouse at the Stanford Research Institute. (see more at 1967)

Thomas E. Kurtz, John G. Kemeny

In the spring, Kemeny and Kurtz select the General Electric 225 computer and the DATANET 30 as the hardware for the development of the time-sharing system. Kemeny uses a GE-225 in the Boston area to develop the prototype BASIC compiler. In the fall, Kurtz and Mike Busch '66 go to Phoenix, Arizona, to learn how to program the equipment.



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CDC (Control Data Computer) develops one of the first commercial SUPER COMPUTERS: CDC 6600 and STAR100 (later re-baptized in CYBER). This computer has ten peripheral processors known as a pre processing unit. This unit sends the data to a central processor: CPU. This processor runs at 3.000.000 instructions per second. (3 MIPS)

moore_gordon.jpg (3625 bytes)Intel's chairman Gordon Moore suggests that integrated circuits would double in complexity every year while prices will stay the same. This suggestion will be known as Moore's Law. This statement is printed by a magazine in an article written by Moore. He will only have to change this law in 2001!

McLuhan writes "Understanding Media", predicts global electronic village.(1)

Hursley(22) plays a major part in the development of the high-level programming language PL/I. Two years later the Laboratory is assigned worldwide responsibility for it, having also produced the first PL/I compiler.

SCAMP leads to Hursley's involvement in the development of the System/360 from its beginnings. The Model 40 establishes a solid reputation for the Laboratory.

ibm_360.gif (18353 bytes)April 7, IBM announces the first 'Family' of computers: the IBM /360, after 5 years of development. The machine will start shipping in 1965

It is the first in the 3-rd generation of computers. This series consists of six with each other compatible computers and peripherals. Their controlling circuitry is stored on chips. This is a new strategy to make computers compatible with each other.
In the same time computers from different manufacturers still could not "talk" to each other. Even at the level of plugs. Later the term "plug compatibility" will be used when manufacturers want to sell a machine to a client that has a computer from another manufacturer.
Knowing that it will be no surprise that this new IBM "computer family" is a runner. Up to a 1000 machines are sold every month!(20)
IBM also introduces the 1403 printer for System/360. It uses a revolving metal chain (hence chain printer), and can print 1100 lines of text per minute.(25)
However the operating system to run on this machines is riddled with bugs, it hangs up machines without apparent cause. This threatens the existence of IBM.

Buchanan, Feigenbaum & Lederberg begin DENDRAL expert system project.

Online transaction processing made its debut in IBM´s SABRE reservation system, set up for American Airlines. Using telephone lines, SABRE linked 2,000 terminals in 65 cities to a pair of IBM 7090 computers, delivering data on any flight in less than three seconds.

kemenyBASIC - Beginners All Purpose Instruction Code - is introduced as a computer language by professors Thomas Kurtz en John Kemeny (picture left).

They got lots of help from undergraduates. And BASIC would become the "lingua franca" of the young computer community. (20)  One of the main goals of this language is to train students in programming computers with a relatively simple language. In the Fall of 1964, the Dartmouth Time Sharing System became operational with BASIC as primary language for student program development. The first BASIC was a slow, unstructured, interpreted language.(25)

At a meeting of structural research managers from the NASA centers Tom Butles proposed that NASA develop a general purpose computer program using the new Finite Element method.(25)

Epson invents the dot matrix printer: EP-101(27). The machine is developed because the mother company Seiko needed a small device to be used with the time keeping instruments at the Olympics in Tokyo. It will take another four years before this printer will go into serial production.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) is developed through a mutual project by IBM and General Motors.

First Local Area Network is developed at Rank Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center

With a speed of 9 megaflops, Control Data Corp.'s CDC 6600, designed by Seymour Cray, claims the title of first commercially successful supercomputer.


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