A New History of Modern Computing

by Haigh, Ceruzzi

ISBN: 9780262366489 | Copyright 2021

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How the computer became universal.

Over the past fifty years, the computer has been transformed from a hulking scientific supertool and data processing workhorse, remote from the experiences of ordinary people, to a diverse family of devices that billions rely on to play games, shop, stream music and movies, communicate, and count their steps. In A New History of Modern Computing, Thomas Haigh and Paul Ceruzzi trace these changes. A comprehensive reimagining of Ceruzzi's A History of Modern Computing, this new volume uses each chapter to recount one such transformation, describing how a particular community of users and producers remade the computer into something new.

Haigh and Ceruzzi ground their accounts of these computing revolutions in the longer and deeper history of computing technology. They begin with the story of the 1945 ENIAC computer, which introduced the vocabulary of “programs” and “programming,” and proceed through email, pocket calculators, personal computers, the World Wide Web, videogames, smart phones, and our current world of computers everywhere—in phones, cars, appliances, watches, and more. Finally, they consider the Tesla Model S as an object that simultaneously embodies many strands of computing.

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Contents (pg. vii)
Acknowledgments (pg. ix)
Becoming Universal: Introducing A New History of Computing (pg. 1)
1. Inventing the Computer (pg. 9)
ENIAC (pg. 10)
The EDVAC Approach (pg. 14)
The Commercialization of Computing (pg. 22)
2. The Computer Becomes a Scientific Supertool (pg. 29)
The First Scientific Computers (pg. 30)
Scientific Programming Tools (pg. 37)
Toward the Supercomputer (pg. 45)
3. The Computer Becomes a Data Processing Device (pg. 55)
The First Administrative Computers (pg. 55)
Data Processing in Practice (pg. 62)
IBM’s System/360 Sets the Standard (pg. 67)
Dreams of a Management Revolution (pg. 73)
Creation of the Software Industry (pg. 80)
4. The Computer Becomes a Real-Time Control System (pg. 83)
Real-Time Systems (pg. 84)
Miniaturization: Missiles and Minicomputers (pg. 90)
Integrated Circuits (pg. 96)
Building Reliable Systems (pg. 102)
5. The Computer Becomes an Interactive Tool (pg. 109)
The Origins of Interactive Computing (pg. 110)
Scaling Up Timesharing (pg. 119)
Software Engineering (pg. 127)
Unix and DEC Take Timesharing Mainstream (pg. 132)
6. The Computer Becomes a Communications Platform (pg. 139)
Communication and Collaborating on Timesharing Systems (pg. 139)
Laying The Internet’s Foundations (pg. 144)
Commercial Networks (pg. 154)
Internet Commercialization (pg. 160)
7. The Computer Becomes a Personal Plaything (pg. 167)
New Electronic Devices (pg. 167)
Personal Computing (pg. 173)
Video Games (pg. 186)
Computers Come Home (pg. 191)
8. The Computer Becomes Office Equipment (pg. 207)
Personal Computers for Business (pg. 208)
The IBM Personal Computer Family (pg. 216)
The IBM PC Becomes an Industry (pg. 227)
The PC at the End of the 1980s (pg. 234)
9. The Computer Becomes a Graphical Tool (pg. 243)
Xerox Invents Graphical Computing (pg. 244)
Bringing the Graphical Interface to Personal Computers (pg. 253)
10. The Pc Becomes a Minicomputer (pg. 263)
Moving Beyond DOS (pg. 264)
Inventing the Wintel PC (pg. 276)
The RISC Challenge to Wintel (pg. 282)
11. The Computer Becomes a Universal Media Device (pg. 293)
Origins of Digital Media (pg. 294)
Digitizing Music (pg. 301)
Digitizing Images (pg. 306)
Downloading Music (pg. 314)
3D Graphics and Games (pg. 320)
Digital Media Triumphant (pg. 327)
12. The Computer Becomes a Publishing Platform (pg. 329)
The World Wide Web (pg. 330)
Web Publishing (pg. 337)
The Browser Wars (pg. 347)
The Triumph of Open Source (pg. 352)
13. The Computer Becomes a Network (pg. 359)
Data Centers and the Cloud (pg. 360)
Social Media (pg. 371)
Applications Head for the Web (pg. 375)
14. The Computer is Everywhere and Nowhere (pg. 385)
Specialized Mobile Devices (pg. 385)
Enter the iPhone (pg. 393)
Smartphones Evolve (pg. 403)
15. Epilogue: A Tesla in the Valley (pg. 409)
Into the Valley (pg. 411)
A One-Way Trip to an Uncertain Future (pg. 417)
Technology and Pandemic (pg. 420)
Notes (pg. 425)
Becoming Universal (pg. 425)
Chapter 1 (pg. 426)
Chapter 2 (pg. 429)
Chapter 3 (pg. 431)
Chapter 4 (pg. 435)
Chapter 5 (pg. 438)
Chapter 6 (pg. 442)
Chapter 7 (pg. 445)
Chapter 8 (pg. 449)
Chapter 9 (pg. 452)
Chapter 10 (pg. 454)
Chapter 11 (pg. 456)
Chapter 12 (pg. 459)
Chapter 13 (pg. 462)
Chapter 14 (pg. 464)
Chapter 15 (pg. 465)
Bibliography (pg. 467)
Index (pg. 495)
Series Editor (pg. 529)

Thomas Haigh

Thomas Haigh is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Comenius Visiting Professor at the University of Siegen, and the coauthor of ENIAC in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer (MIT Press).

Paul E. Ceruzzi

Paul E. Ceruzzi is Curator Emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and the author of Internet Alley: High Technology in Tysons Corner 1945–2005, Computing: A Concise History (both published by the MIT Press), and other books.

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