Computing in the Middle Ages

A View From the Trenches 1955-1983

by Severo M. Ornstein



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 10/27/2002

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5x8
Page Count : 304
ISBN : 9781403315175

About the Book

Computing in the Middle Ages is designed for the lay reader who wishes to understand some of the background of the computer revolution. It provides an easily understood and amusing account of what took place in computer research between the 1950s and the 1980s. The achievements of those days were later exploited by companies like Apple and Microsoft, which brought personal computers to the consciousness of the general public.

During that era ... when both the design of computers and expectations about the ways in which they could be used were undergoing dramatic change ... the author was "in the trenches" where seminal experiments were taking place, first at MIT and later at other universities and research centers. His unassuming story ... a breezy and irreverent memoir enlivened by amusing anecdotes from his professional and personal experience ... gives a human dimension to the otherwise dry and often obscure process of scientific and engineering innovation. Developments are brought to life and explained in terms that can be understood by anyone. Along the way you'll meet a number of memorable characters who, although often overshadowed in the public mind by entrepreneurs, are widely recognized as pioneers in the field of computer research.

About the Author

In the late 1950s Severo Ornstein worked at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, then at the forefront of computer research. In 1961-62 he participated in the design of the LINC, the world’s first personal computer. He was later responsible for the hardware design of the IMP, the computer that handled messages for the Arpanet, forerunner of the Internet. During the same period he taught computer design at Harvard, and in 1972 he organized and led the first delegation of computer scientists to China. In 1981, together with his wife, Laura Gould, he founded Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), an organization concerned with the role of computers in society.