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The Industrial Era

1965 - 1968

In this part the emerging telecommunication is one of the more important events.
The first computers fully based on IC technology come on the market.
New operating systems see the light. The programming language "C" is developed.


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pointer.gif (479 bytes)The first glass fiber cables are being used in a punch card reader from IBM.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)While some companies were developing bigger and faster machines, Digital Equipment Corporation introduced the PDP-8 in 1965, the first TRUE minicomputer.

The PDP-8 had a minuscule instruction set and a primitive micro-language, and excellent interface capability. Thus the PDP-8 became used extensively as a process control system, including interfacing to telephone lines for time-sharing systems.(19)





pointer.gif (479 bytes)Ted Nelson, an author and futurist, coins the word "hypertext" and "hypermedia" in his paper presented to the ACM 20th national conference:

...by 'hypertext' I mean nonsequential writing - text that branches and allows choice to the reader, best read at an interactive screen.

Do you want to know more on this subject

pointer.gif (479 bytes)At the University of Belgrade, Rajko Tomovic makes one of the earliest attempts to develop an artificial limb with a sense of touch.

Douglas Engelbart produces a prototype of the computer mouse; for which the research started in 1963. The first mouse Engelbart created is made of wood and metal wheels, read on at 1967.

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general electric 625.pointer.gif (479 bytes)Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) allows several users simultaneously to use, or share, a single computer.

At MIT this is noted by J.C.R. Licklider, director of information processing research at ARPA, who believed that the technology had useful applications in the agency. He arranged to sponsor Project MAC (variously interpreted as "Machine Aided Cognition", "Minsky Against Corbatů" and other names) that would take the next logical stage in the development of time-sharing to produce a system known as "Multics". Choosing a GE 600 series machine as the basis for the development, MIT was joined by GE and AT&T Bell Laboratories to produce a general-purpose, shared-memory multiprocessing timesharing system.(19)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Maurice Wilkes develops the first cache memory chip used in mainframe and minicomputers.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)IBM starts shipping the 360 computer family.

The series name 360 is derived from the compass of 360 degrees. This indicated that this family of computers were all compatible within the 360 series. In this period of time (plug)compatibility was a revolutionary insight of the developers to cope with the industrial malaise of trying to get computers to talk to each other. Without using a translation table or rewriting software that was nearly impossible, at this time.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)The CTSS (computer time sharing system) operating system is introduced.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Fuzzy Logic designed by Lofti Zadeh (University of Berkeley, California), it is used to process approximate data such as 'about 100'.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Moore is widely known for "Moore's Law," in which in 1965 he predicted that the number of transistors the industry would be able to place on a computer chip would double every year. In 1975, he updated his prediction to once every two years. (14)



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pointer.gif (479 bytes)Texas Instruments is Founded

pointer.gif (479 bytes)The acoustic modem is strongly improved  by John Green at Stanford university. His modem improves the quality of computer networks because it now can detect separate bits that have been sent from long distances. So far only short distances were possible, within a building for example

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Steven Gray founds the Amateur Computer Society and starts publishing the Amateur Computer Society ACS Newsletter issue 1 appeared in August 1966.

This example will be followed by many computer hobby clubs all over the world and will be the most important medium to share information for time to come. Some of these newsletters will become regular magazines other will disappear in a few years. Some say that by founding the ACS to be the birth date of personal computing. (3)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)First WAN experiment (ARPAnet) (13)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)The hand-held pocket calculator is invented at Texas Instruments, Incorporated (TI) in 1966 by a development team which included Jerry D. Merryman, James H. Van Tassel and Jack St. Clair Kilby.

In 1974 a basic patent for miniature electronic calculators has been issued to Texas Instruments Incorporated. The patent is for personal-sized, battery-operated calculators which have their main electronic circuitry in a single integrated semiconductor circuit array, such as the popular "one-chip" calculators. (1)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)IBM researcher Robert H. Dennard invents Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) cells.

One-transistor memory cells that store each a single bit of information as an electrical charge in an electronic circuit. The technology permits major increases in memory density, and is widely adopted throughout the industry where it remains in widespread use today.(2)




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pointer.gif (479 bytes)On June 21, 1967, Douglas Engelbart applies for a patent on his X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System, now better known as the mouse.

He started research for the mouse in 1963 to come up with a prototype in 1965 .(3) In 1968 he will perform a demonstration to show the mouse in its context: a human computer interface. In 1970 he will receive the patent.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)The first Random Access Memory - RAM - chip of 256 bits is developed by Fairchild Semiconductor Inc. and will be announced in 1970. This chip contains over a thousand transistors.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)A dynamic memory cell is being built into a chip by IBM. This means that now a bit only needs one transistor. And as a result the densities on a chip can be drastically expanded.

floppy_8inchpointer.gif (479 bytes)A team headed by David Noble from IBM starts the process of developing the first floppy disk.(3) 

Two years later it will be used in IBM's System/370 mainframe machines to replace the much slower paper tape. The read only floppy will contain a program called Initial Control Program Load (IPL) (13) such a program is needed to boot a mainframe or a section there off.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)The first office calculator is now marketed: ANITA MARK 8 and is designed by Norman Kitz.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)In 1967 the LOGO "turtle" was born. Seymour Paper designed the LOGO computer language as a learning tool for children.(3)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Grace Hopper becomes project manager of a military work group that eventually will create the computer language ADA. An homage to lady Ada Lovelace.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Barclays Bank in the UK claims to have installed the first cash dispenser in the world in June 1967.

This machine operates very different from today’s devices (ATM). There are no magnetic cards; customers are issued with paper vouchers which are inserted into the machine which retains the voucher, and dispenses a single £10 note. Other banks use machines which accepts thin plastic cards; these are returned to the customer through the post after processing so that they can be used again. The dispenser machines are far from reliable.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Andreas van Dam completes the Hypertext Editing System, a program that allows non-sequential access to the various parts of a document.(13)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)IBM releases the 360/91 machine and introducing the concept of pipeline processing.

This improves the performance of a computer by 33 %. The pipeline is the computer equivalent of the assembly line.(13)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Development of Arpanet, forerunner of the Internet, begins with U.S. Defense Department funding.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)The first ATM hits the streets at Barclay's Bank in London.



pointer.gif (479 bytes)The Garmisch Conference in Germany marks a turning point in software development.

At the conference scientists, engineers and industry leaders, discuss the problem that software developers are unable to cope with the advances in computer hardware. Here the term "Software Crisis" is used for the first time.

A prime example of software getting over complicated:
IBM's operating system OS/360 is riddled with errors. To such a degree that it failed to operate properly and caused machines to crash for more than 4 hours.

The conference results in rough guidelines that eventually will lead towards a structured design methodology. That in its turn will yield fewer errors in software.(20)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Douglas C. Engelbart publicly demonstrates the mouse.


It is a device that he had been thinking about and working on for more than a decade.

engelbart 1968(15)
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He also demonstrated video conferencing and hypermedia. Those "inventions" weren't designed to make money or create a product. Rather, they were part of Engelbart's desire to "find much better ways for people to work together to make this world a better place."

During that landmark demonstration Douglas C. Engelbart, of the Stanford Research Institute, demonstrates his system of keyboard, keypad, mouse and windows at the Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco's Civic Center.

demo 1958 (15)
picture digitally enhanced by thocp

He demonstrates the use of a word processor, a hypertext system, and remote collaborative work (later coined as: "teleworking") with colleagues. (3)
But Engelbart did not realize that however useful his ideas were, his machines and software looked to the audience as coming from the far future. And when asked for a price later on, the company he was paid by, set it much too high. It meant the instant death for his project.

Invited by Rank Xerox, Steve Jobs of Apple inc. studies the ideas and goes head on to develop the Lisa (also much too expensive) and MacIntosh (expensive but affordable) Both machines based on the ideas he saw at the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC).

pointer.gif (479 bytes)The first machines based on the IC technology are being sold to the general public.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)IBM uses in their new /360 systems CACHE memory, a super fast ram.

This memory showed to be 12 times as fast as the standard magnetic core memory, the average access time was 80 ns. Very fast for this period.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)IBM offers the IMS hierarchical database for System/360 mainframes


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pointer.gif (479 bytes)Gordon E. Moore, Robert N. Noyce en William Shockley are leaving Fairchild and establish Intel (18.07.1968).

pointer.gif (479 bytes)The first working model of VIRTUAL REALITY is ready.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)CMOS - Complementary Metal Oxide Silicon - is developed.

This technology uses less power than the standard transistor technology. Because of that these chips are very suitable for portable computer systems that run on batteries:

But it will take another 25 years before this CMOS technology really takes off.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Commodore markets one of the first electronic calculators. These machines were heavy, clumsy and could only do the four basic calculations: ad, subtract, multiply, division.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Hewlett-Packard announces their HP 9100A series calculator with CRT displays selling for about $5000 each (21)
display with a floating point calculation from hp9000


pointer.gif (479 bytes)In 1955, during the development of the programming language FORTRAN, Harlan Herrick had introduced the high level language equivalent of a "jump" instruction in the form of a "GO TO" statement.

pointer.gif (479 bytes)In 1968 Edsger Dijkstra laid the foundation in the march towards creating structure in the domain of programming.

He writes not a scientific paper on the subject, but instead a letter to the editor entitled "GO TO Statement Considered Harmful". (Comm. ACM, August 1968) The movement to develop reliable software was underway. (19)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)Arthur C. Clark introduced HAL, the computer of the future in the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey".

the design is based on the artificial intelligence proposals of I.J. Good (a member of Bletchley Park) and Marvin Minsky. Supposedly HAL was a monosyllabic cipher of IBM! (19) It is also Clark who published the idea of satellites in space (earth orbit) for communication.


pointer.gif (479 bytes)Computer Science Corp. becomes the first software company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.(13)


pointer.gif (479 bytes)COBOL is now officially defined by ANSI.(13)

pointer.gif (479 bytes)First PhD in computer science achieved by Wexelblat at University of Pennsylvania


One of these famous quotes

"But what... is it good for ?" Indicating at the use of a Personal Computer.
    — An engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division
        of IBM, commenting on the microchip in 1968.


Go BackNexttimeline indexinformation about this sectionGo to main pagesearch this site Last Updated on November 10, 2006 For suggestions please mail the editors 

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