A Computer Perspective / Edition 2

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Overview

A Computer Perspective is an illustrated essay on the origins and first lines of development of the computer. The complex network of creative forces and social pressures that have produced the computer is personified here in the creators of instruments of computation, and their machines or tables; the inventors of mathematical or logical concepts and their applications; and the fabricators of practical devices to serve the immediate needs of government, commerce, engineering, and science.

The book is based on an exhibition conceived and assembled for International Business Machines Corporation. Like the exhibition, it is not a history in the narrow sense of a chronology of concepts and devices. Yet these pages actually display more true history (in relation to the computer) than many more conventional presentations of the development of science and technology.

A splendid, graphic history of the origin and development of the computer, this classic work is a timeless record of the most profound technological revolution in the history of humankind. The book's decade-by-decade format is highlighted with hundreds of illustrations, memorabilia and artifacts collected from around the world. Halftones and illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

The Economist
A Computer Perspective is the first truly graphic history of the origin and development of the computer...This book will long remain a unique anthology of the great events that occur when dreamers and theorists can get together with engineers and inventors.
New Scientist

A Computer Perspective: Background to the Computer Age sets out to...[place] the digital computer in its historical context, taking 1950 as its terminal date. By then, the digital computer revolution had been fully inaugurated with the first generation of modern stored-program computers. The book casts a wide net as it presents, mainly with pictures and captions, the many contributory ideas and developments that provide the foundation and background for the computer age...This is a book full of interesting pictures and quotations. It brings out the technical, human and social aspects of the development of computers in an imaginative way. Who could resist a book containing such fascinating information?
— Antony Anderson

Computing Reviews

[This] book set a standard for the history of computing.
— P. E. Ceruzzi

New Scientist - Antony Anderson
A Computer Perspective: Background to the Computer Age sets out to...[place] the digital computer in its historical context, taking 1950 as its terminal date. By then, the digital computer revolution had been fully inaugurated with the first generation of modern stored-program computers. The book casts a wide net as it presents, mainly with pictures and captions, the many contributory ideas and developments that provide the foundation and background for the computer age...This is a book full of interesting pictures and quotations. It brings out the technical, human and social aspects of the development of computers in an imaginative way. Who could resist a book containing such fascinating information?
Heinz Zemanek
The volume is a must for everyone interested in computer history and an important tool for anyone wanting to understand how the computer age started.
Computing Reviews - P. E. Ceruzzi
[This] book set a standard for the history of computing.
Booknews
Presents pedagogical materials useful in the design and delivery of a wide range of the most frequently taught college-level courses in communication. Part one is general to teaching communication in the undergraduate classroom. Part two consists of 13 chapters, each devoted to one course frequently found in college curricula. While the focus is on the new teacher, even experienced teachers will likely benefit from the approaches and materials used by others. A pictorial history of the origin and development of computers, 1890-1950, tracing logical automata, and statistical and calculating machines. A new introduction and epilogue are added to the 1973 edition. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674156265
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1990
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 8.76 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

I. Bernard Cohen, Victor S. Thomas Professor of the History of Science, Emeritus, at Harvard University, is one of the founders of the modern study of the history of science.
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Prologue

Charles Babbage

Calculating Machines

Statistical Machines

Logical Automata

1890s

The 1890 Census. First Russian Census. Galton: The Measure of Man. Finger Prints. John Gore at the Prudential. Marquand's Logic Machine. Pastore: Logic on Wheels. Mental Calculation. Léon Bollée. The "Millionaire". The Comptometer and the Burroughs. Calculation by Measurement

1900s

The Dynamo and the Virgin. Moxon's Master. Alfred Binet: The Scale of Intelligence. Punch Cards for Commerce. Statistical Fallout. Taylorization. The Copper Man. Astronomical Calculations. Bjerknes' Weather Mechanics

1910s

Gyroscopic Guidance. Maintaining an Attitude. Assembly Lines. Torres' Theory of Automata. Torres' Algebraic Machines. The Great Brass Brain. Pearson's Battle for Biometrics. Power's Printing Tabulator. Facts and Government. Un-uniform Soldiers. Aberdeen. Weather Forecast-Factory

1920s

Bush's Profile Tracer. The Product Integraph. L.J. Comrie and Scientific Calculation. Corn and Correlation. Thomas J. Watson Sr. and the Business of Machines. Ben Wood and Educational Measurement. Planning the Five Year Plans. Minorsky and Metal Mike. Homeostasis

1930s

Dark Visions of Machines. Some Machine Utopias. Robots. Servomechanisms. Social Security. Hooten: The American Criminal. America Speaks. Leontief and Input-Output. Eckert's "Mechanical Programmer". The Bush Differential Analyzer. Meccano. Zuse. The Switch to Base Two. Aiken and the A.S.C.C.. The Universal Turing Machine

1940s

Self-regulating Systems. ENIAC at the Moore School. Ballistics. The First Programmers. The von Neumann Concept. The Weather Group. The "Analytical Engine". Operations Research. Information Processing. Cryptography. Cybernetics. Simulation in Real Time. The Computer

Epilogue

Exhibition Credits

Acknowledgments

Index

Readings

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