Inventing the Future

Tom Kelliher, CS14A

Feb. 24, 1997


  1. Be sure to see the quiz review page.

Inventing the Future

Outline/important points of the video:

  1. Eckert, Mauchly, ENIAC. $3,000,000 cost.

  2. ``Only a few dozen computers will ever be needed and only by scientists.'' Why is this ironic?

  3. Eckert and Mauchly see a market for computers in business.

  4. Criticisms of computers: too expensive, too unreliable, too difficult to program.

  5. First customer: Census Bureau. Why did they want a computer?

  6. First commerical computer: UNIVAC.

  7. First large scale public exposure to a computer: the 1952 presidential election.

  8. Solving the programming crisis: high level programming languages. FORTRAN for scientific, COBOL for business.

  9. Fear: automation --- loss of jobs. ``Good tools'' replace ``bad jobs''? Creation of less tedious jobs.

  10. Transistor: major improvement over the vacuum tube. Transistor was much smaller, generated little heat, consumed little power. Shockley.

  11. Wiring: the tyranny of numbers. Solution: the integrated circuit. Kilby and Noyce.

  12. ICs were too expensive. Solution: great need by NASA (space program) and the military (missles, jets) drove prices down (mass production).

  13. Silicon valley: the heart of the computing industry.

Thomas P. Kelliher
Sat Feb 22 10:21:10 EST 1997
Tom Kelliher