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Digital Software Hardware

The Computer Labs That Created the Digital World 48

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-the-beginning dept.
MrSeb writes "In the time of Socrates, Plato and Cicero, great minds came together in local forums or sophist schools. The Enlightenment of the 18th century was triggered by homely gatherings at salons and fueled by the steaming hotpot of coffeehouses and caffeine. Today we still use forums, of course, and plenty of inventions and insight still originate from coffeehouses, but most innovation occurs in laboratories. ExtremeTech takes a look at the six computer labs that gave birth to the digital world — from Bletchley Park in Blighty, to PARC labs in Palo Alto, and everything in between."
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The Computer Labs That Created the Digital World

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  • Volta Labs? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @06:01PM (#37124354) Homepage

    This is another one of those "top N, one per page, ads on every page" ad farm trolls.

    Their list isn't too impressive, either. Bell Labs, yes. IBM Watson, yes. PARC, yes. But where's the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, from which came ENIAC, and the beginnings of UNIVAC, the first commercial electronic computer to go into production? Also, Bletchly Park wasn't that influential because nobody knew about it until the 1970s.

    What we call a "computer" today is properly a stored-program general purpose digital computer. There were machines built before that which had some, but not all, of those attributes. Bletchley Park's machines fall into that category). The WWII US crypto operation was at Arlington Hall, which did more hardware development than Bletchley Park. were developed. They were using punched cards where Bletchley used people and filing cabinets, and they seem to have developed digital magnetic tape, although the history there is cloudy. NSA is the direct descendant of Arlington Hall.

    Another major pre-computer computing company was Teleregister, which was a spinoff from Western Union in 1949. They pioneered "remote computing" for stock quotations, railroad ticketing, and airline ticketing. Their Magnetronic Reservisor was the first big remote-access system, with magnetic drums holding the reservation data.

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