The History of the Computer

As one of the top IT equipment and exhibition service providers, we're able to supply you with a huge range of products to suit your needs. In the below visualisation, you'll also be able to find out about the history of computing, so you can learn how many of the products we have for hire came into being. The first computer was built much earlier than many people believe, and the industry has been evolving ever since. From humble, yet incredible, beginnings, we now have a whole world of technology that can help us to do any number of seemingly everyday tasks.


The visualisation begins in 1936, with the creation of the Z1 Computer - but where will it end? Tab through the slides to find out more about computing and its many creations, and how some of these products have directly affected your life.


1936

1936

Z1 Computer

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Z1 Computer

Konrad Zuse

A mechanical computer created by Konrad Zuse in 1935 that was a binary electrically driven mechanical calculator with limited programmability. It also came with reading instructions that used punched tape. It was the first in a series designed by Zuse, and was originally called the 'V1'. After WWII though, it was renamed the 'Z1' to avoid confusion between the flying bombs designed by Wernher von Braun.



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1942

1942

ABC Computer

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ABC Computer

John Atanasoff & Clifford Berry

The Atanasoff‚?"Berry Computer (ABC) was one of the earliest electronic digital computers that was first conceived in 1937. It wasn't programmable though, and was only designed to solve linear equations on systems. It successfully passed the testing phase in 1942, but was than discontinued after the storage mechanism (a paper card writer/reader) was proved to be unreliable.



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1944

1944

Harvard Mark I Computer

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Harvard Mark I Computer

Howard Aiken & Grace Hopper

The IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC), called the Mark I by Harvard University, was an electro-mechanical computer.



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1946

1946

ENIAC 1 Computer

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ENIAC 1 Computer

John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly

ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory. When ENIAC was announced in 1946 it was heralded in the press as a "Giant Brain". It had a speed of one thousand times that of electro-mechanical machines. This mathematical power, coupled with general-purpose programmability, excited scientists and industrialists. The inventors promoted the spread of these new ideas by conducting a series of lectures on computer architecture.



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1948

1948

Manchester Baby Computer & The Williams Tube

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Manchester Baby Computer & The Williams Tube

Frederic Williams & Tom Kilburn

The electromechanical ASCC was devised by Howard H. Aiken, built at IBM and shipped to Harvard in February 1944. It began computations for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships in May and was officially presented to the university on August 7, 1944.



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1948

1948

The Transistor

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The Transistor

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain & Wiliam Shockley

Transistors transformed the world of electronics and had a huge impact on computer design. Transistors made of semiconductors replaced tubes in the construction of computers. By replacing bulky and unreliable vacuum tubes with transistors, computers could now perform the same functions, using less power and space.



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1949

1949

EDSAC

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EDSAC

John von Neumann/Maurice Wilkes/University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory in England.

The machine, having been inspired by John von Neumann's seminal First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC, was constructed by Maurice Wilkes and his team at the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory in England. EDSAC was the second usefully operational electronic digital stored-program computer. Later the project was supported by J. Lyons & Co. Ltd., a British firm, who were rewarded with the first commercially applied computer, LEO I, based on the EDSAC design. EDSAC ran its first programs on 6 May 1949, when it calculated a table of squares and a list of prime numbers. EDSAC 1 and was finally shut down on 11 July 1958, having been superseded by EDSAC 2 which stayed in use until 1965.



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1949

1949

Assembly language

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Assembly language

Nathanial Rochester and Stan Poley

Each assembly language is specific to a particular computer architecture, in contrast to most high-level programming languages, which are generally portable across multiple systems. Assembly language is converted into executable machine code by a utility program referred to as an assembler; the conversion process is referred to as assembly, or assembling the code. Assembly language uses a mnemonic to represent each low-level machine operation or opcode. Some opcodes require one or more operands as part of the instruction, and most assemblers can take labels and symbols as operands to represent addresses and constants, instead of hard coding them into the program. Macro assemblers include a macroinstruction facility so that assembly language text can be pre-assigned to a name, and that name can be used to insert the text into other code. Many assemblers offer additional mechanisms to facilitate program development, to control the assembly process, and to aid debugging.



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1951

1951

UNIVAC Computer

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UNIVAC Computer

John Presper Eckert & John W. Mauchly

The UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer I) was the second commercial computer produced in the United States. It was designed principally by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the inventors of the ENIAC. Design work was started by their company, Eckert‚?"Mauchly Computer Corporation, and was completed after the company had been acquired by Remington Rand (which later became part of Sperry, now Unisys). In the years before successor models of the UNIVAC I appeared, the machine was simply known as "the UNIVAC".



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1953

1953

IBM 701 EDPM Computer

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IBM 701 EDPM Computer

International Business Machines

The IBM 701, known as the Defense Calculator while in development, was announced to the public on April 29, 1952, and was IBM‚?Ts first commercial scientific computer. Its business computer siblings were the IBM 702 and IBM 650.



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1955

1955

ERMA and MICR

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ERMA and MICR

Stanford Research Institute, Bank of America, and General Electric

ERMA (Electronic Recording Machine, Accounting), was a pioneering computer development project run at SRI International under contract to Bank of America in order to automate banking bookkeeping. The project ran from 1950 to 1955. They were so successful in operation that Bank of America was propelled ahead of other banks in profitability, and became the world's largest bank by 1970. Magnetic ink character recognition, or MICR, is a character recognition technology used primarily by the banking industry to facilitate the processing and clearance of cheques and other documents.



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1957

1957

FORTRAN Computer Programming Language

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FORTRAN Computer Programming Language

John Backus & IBM

Fortran (previously FORTRAN) is a general-purpose, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing. Originally developed by IBM at their campus in south San Jose, California in the 1950s for scientific and engineering applications, Fortran came to dominate this area of programming early on and has been in continual use for over half a century in computationally intensive areas such as numerical weather prediction, finite element analysis, computational fluid dynamics, computational physics and computational chemistry



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1958

1958

The Integrated Circuit

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The Integrated Circuit

Jack Kilby & Robert Noyce

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as an IC, a chip, or a microchip) is a set of electronic circuits on one small plate ("chip") of semiconductor material, normally silicon. This can be made much smaller than a discrete circuit made from independent components. Integrated circuits are used in virtually all electronic equipment today and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the low cost of producing integrated circuits.



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1958

1958

Lisp (programming language)

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Lisp (programming language)

John McCarthy

Originally specified in 1958, Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language in widespread use today; only Fortran is older (by one year). Like Fortran, Lisp has changed a great deal since its early days, and a number of dialects have existed over its history. Today, the most widely known general-purpose Lisp dialects are Common Lisp and Scheme. Lisp was originally created as a practical mathematical notation for computer programs, influenced by the notation of Alonzo Church's lambda calculus. It quickly became the favored programming language for artificial intelligence (AI) research. As one of the earliest programming languages, Lisp pioneered many ideas in computer science, including tree data structures, automatic storage management, dynamic typing, conditionals, higher-order functions, recursion, and the self-hosting compiler.



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1959

1959

COBOL

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COBOL

Grace Hopper, William Selden, Gertrude Tierney, Howard Bromberg, Howard Discount, Vernon Reeves, Jean E. Sammet

The COBOL specification was created by a committee of researchers from private industry, universities, and government during the second half of 1959. The specifications were to a great extent inspired by the FLOW-MATIC language invented by Grace Hopper, commonly referred to as "the mother of the COBOL language." The IBM COMTRAN language invented by Bob Bemer was also drawn upon, but the FACT language specification from Honeywell was not distributed to committee members until late in the process and had relatively little impact. FLOW-MATIC's status as the only language of the bunch to have actually been implemented made it particularly attractive to the committee.



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1960

1960

CDC 1604

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CDC 1604

Seymour Cray/Control Data Corporation

The 1604 is known as the first commercially successful transistorized computer. Legend has it that the 1604 designation was chosen by adding CDC's first street address (501 Park Avenue) to Cray's former project, the ERA-Univac 1103. A cut-down 24-bit version, designated the CDC 924, was also produced. The first 1604 was delivered to the US Navy in 1960 for applications supporting major Fleet Operations Control Centers in Hawaii, London, and Norfolk, Virginia. By 1964, over 50 systems were built. The CDC 3000 succeeded the 1604. A 12-bit minicomputer, called the CDC 160, was often used as an I/O processor in 1604 systems. A stand-alone version of the 160 called the CDC-160A was, arguably, the first minicomputer.



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1962

1962

Spacewar Computer Game

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Spacewar Computer Game

Steve Russell & MIT

Spacewar (stylized "Spacewar!") is one of the earliest known digital computer games. It is a two-player game, with each player taking control of a spaceship and attempting to destroy the other. A star in the center of the screen pulls on both ships and requires maneuvering to avoid falling into it. In an emergency, a player can enter hyperspace to return at a random location on the screen, but only at the risk of exploding if it is used too often.



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1963

1963

CPL (programming language)

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CPL (programming language)

Christopher Strachey et al.

CPL was developed jointly between the Mathematical Laboratory at the University of Cambridge and the University of London Computer Unit during the 1960s hence CPL gained the nickname "Cambridge Plus London". The collaborative effort was responsible for the "Combined" in the name of the language (previously, the name was Cambridge Programming Language). D. W. Barron and Christopher Strachey were involved (for others see paper). In 1963 (when the paper was published) it was concurrently being implemented on the Titan Computer at Cambridge and the Atlas Computer at London.



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1963

1963

Computer Mouse

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Computer Mouse

Douglas Engelbart

In computing, a mouse is a pointing device that functions by detecting two-dimensional motion relative to its supporting surface. Physically, a mouse consists of an object held under one of the user's hands, with one or more buttons. The mouse sometimes features other elements, such as "wheels", which allow the user to perform various system-dependent operations, or extra buttons or features that can add more control or dimensional input. The mouse's motion typically translates into the motion of a pointer on a display, which allows for fine control of a graphical user interface.



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1963

1963

Sketchpad

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Sketchpad

Ivan Sutherland

Sketchpad is considered to be the ancestor of modern computer-aided drafting (CAD) programs as well as a major breakthrough in the development of computer graphics in general. For example, the graphical user interface (GUI) was derived from the Sketchpad as well as modern object oriented programming. Ivan Sutherland demonstrated with it that computer graphics could be used for both artistic and technical purposes in addition to showing a novel method of human-computer interaction.



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1964

1964

BASIC

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BASIC

John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz

The original Dartmouth BASIC was designed in 1964 by John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, U.S. to provide computer access to non-science students. At the time, nearly all use of computers required writing custom software, which was something only scientists and mathematicians tended to do. The language and its variants became widespread on microcomputers in the late 1970s and 1980s, when it was typically a standard feature, and often part of the firmware of the machine. The presence of an easy-to-learn language such as BASIC on these early personal computers allowed small business owners to develop their own custom application software, leading to widespread use of these computers in businesses that previously did not have access to computing technology. BASIC remains popular in numerous dialects and new languages influenced by BASIC such as Microsoft Visual Basic. In 2006, 59% of developers for the .NET Framework used Visual Basic .NET as their only programming language.



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1964

1964

CDC 6600

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CDC 6600

Seymour Cray/Control Data Corporation

It was used primarily for high-energy nuclear physics research, particularly for the analysis of nuclear events photographed inside the Alvarez bubble chamber. The very first CDC 6600 was delivered about one year earlier to Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) near Geneva, Switzerland, also for use in high-energy nuclear physics research. It is generally considered to be the first successful supercomputer, outperforming its fastest predecessor, IBM 7030 Stretch, by about three times. With performance of about 1 megaFLOPS, it remained the world's fastest computer from 1964 to 1969, when it relinquished that status to its successor, the CDC 7600. The system organization of the CDC 6600 was used for the simpler (and slower) CDC 6400, and later a version containing two 6400 processors known as the CDC 6500. These machines were instruction-compatible with the 6600, but ran slower due to a much simpler and more sequential processor design. The entire family is now referred to as the CDC 6000 series. The CDC 7600 was originally to be compatible as well, starting its life as the CDC 6800, but during the design, compatibility was dropped in favor of outright performance. While the 7600 CPU remained compatible with the 6600, allowing portable user code, the peripheral processor units (PPUs) were different, requiring a different operating system.



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1969

1969

UNIX Operating System

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UNIX Operating System

Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna at Bell Labs

First developed in assembly language, by 1973 it had been almost entirely recoded in C, greatly facilitating its further development and porting to other hardware. In 1974, UNIX was first licensed to an outside institution, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, by Greg Chesson and Donald B. Gillies. Today's Unix system evolution is split into various branches, developed over time by AT&T as well as various commercial vendors, universities (such as University of California, Berkeley's BSD), and non-profit organizations.



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1969

1969

ARPAnet

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ARPAnet

The packet switching was based on concepts and designs by engineer Paul Baran, British scientist Donald Davies and Lawrence Roberts of the Lincoln Laboratory. The TCP/IP set of communication protocols were developed for ARPANET by computer scientists Robe

The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) was one of the world's first operational packet switching networks, the first network to implement TCP/IP, and the progenitor of what was to become the global Internet. The network was initially funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA, later DARPA) within the U.S. Department of Defense for use by its projects at universities and research laboratories in the US.



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1970

1970

Intel 1103 Computer Memory

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Intel 1103 Computer Memory

Intel

The Intel 1103 Computer Memory was created in 1970 by the Intel Company. It was the first Dynamic Random Access Memory chip. Soon after its release, the Intel 1103 became the best selling semiconductor memory chip. The first commercialized computer that used the Intel 1103 was the HP 9800 series. It is believed that the Intel 1103 was the turning point for integrated circuits. It was the first chip that was able to store large amounts of data. The Intel 1103 overtook core memories and became the most widely used device.



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1970

1970

Pascal (programming language)

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Pascal (programming language)

Niklaus Wirth

Initially, Pascal was largely, but not exclusively, intended to teach students structured programming. A generation of students used Pascal as an introductory language in undergraduate courses. Variants of Pascal have also frequently been used for everything from research projects to PC games and embedded systems. Newer Pascal compilers exist which are widely used. Pascal was the primary high-level language used for development in the Apple Lisa, and in the early years of the Macintosh. Parts of the original Macintosh operating system were hand-translated into Motorola 68000 assembly language from the Pascal sources. The popular typesetting system TeX by Donald E. Knuth was written in WEB, the original literate programming system, based on DEC PDP-10 Pascal, while applications like Total Commander, Skype and Macromedia Captivate were written in Delphi (Object Pascal). Object Pascal (Embarcadero Delphi) is still used for developing Windows applications but also has the ability to cross compile the same code to Mac and iOS. Another cross-platform version called Free Pascal, with the Lazarus IDE, is popular with Linux users since it also promises write once, compile anywhere, development.



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1970

1970

Forth (programming language)

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Forth (programming language)

Charles H. Moore

Although not as popular as other programming systems, Forth has enough support to keep several language vendors and contractors in business. Forth is currently used in boot loaders such as Open Firmware, space applications, and other embedded systems. Gforth, an implementation of Forth by the GNU Project, is actively maintained, with its most recent release on February 25, 2013. The 1994 standard is currently undergoing revision, provisionally titled Forth 200x.



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1971

1971

Intel 4004 Computer Microprocessor

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Intel 4004 Computer Microprocessor

Faggin, Hoff & Mazor

The Intel 4004 is generally regarded as the first commercially available microprocessor, and cost $60. The first known advertisement for the 4004 is dated November 15, 1971 and appeared in Electronic News. The project that produced the 4004 originated in 1969, when Busicom, a Japanese calculator manufacturer, asked Intel to build a chipset for high-performance desktop calculators.



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1971

1971

The "Floppy" Disk

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The "Floppy" Disk

Alan Shugart &IBM

A floppy disk, or diskette, is a disk storage medium composed of a disk of thin and flexible magnetic storage medium, sealed in a rectangular plastic carrier lined with fabric that removes dust particles. They are read and written by a floppy disk drive (FDD). Floppy disks, initially as 8-inch (200 mm) media and later in 5.25-inch (133 mm) and 3.5-inch (90 mm) sizes, were a ubiquitous form of data storage and exchange from the mid-1970s well into the first decade of the 21st century.



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1972

1972

C Programming Language

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C Programming Language

Dennis Ritchie & Bell Labs

In computing, C is a general-purpose programming language initially developed by Dennis Ritchie between 1969 and 1973 at AT&T Bell Labs. Like most imperative languages in the ALGOL tradition, C has facilities for structured programming and allows lexical variable scope and recursion, while a static type system prevents many unintended operations. Its design provides constructs that map efficiently to typical machine instructions, and therefore it has found lasting use in applications that had formerly been coded in assembly language, most notably system software like the Unix computer operating system.



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1972

1972

Smalltalk

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Smalltalk

Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls, Adele Goldberg

Smalltalk was created as the language to underpin the "new world" of computing exemplified by "human‚?"computer symbiosis." It was designed and created in part for educational use, more so for constructionist learning, at the Learning Research Group (LRG) of Xerox PARC by Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls, Adele Goldberg, Ted Kaehler, Scott Wallace, and others during the 1970s.



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1972

1972

Prolog

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Prolog

Alain Colmerauer

Prolog has its roots in first-order logic, a formal logic, and unlike many other programming languages, Prolog is declarative: the program logic is expressed in terms of relations, represented as facts and rules. A computation is initiated by running a query over these relations.Prolog was one of the first logic programming languages, and remains the most popular among such languages today, with many free and commercial implementations available. While initially aimed at natural language processing, the language has since then stretched far into other areas like theorem proving, expert systems, games, automated answering systems, ontologies and sophisticated control systems. Modern Prolog environments support creating graphical user interfaces, as well as administrative and networked applications.



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1973

1973

The Ethernet Computer Networking

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The Ethernet Computer Networking

Robert Metcalfe & Xerox

Ethernetis a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks (LANs). Ethernet was commercially introduced in 1980 and standardized in 1985 as IEEE 802.3. Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies. The Ethernet standards comprise several wiring and signaling variants of the OSI physical layer in use with Ethernet. The original 10BASE5 Ethernet used coaxial cable as a shared medium.



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1973

1973

GUI

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GUI

Alan Kay and Xerox PARC

Opposed to text-based interfaces, typed command labels or text navigation, GUIs were introduced in reaction to the perceived steep learning curve of command-line interfaces (CLI), which require commands to be typed on the keyboard.



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1974

1974

SCELBI-8H

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SCELBI-8H

Nat Wadsworth and Bob Findley

It was founded in 1973 by Nat Wadsworth and Bob Findley. Initially, they sold hardware (called the SCELBI-8H) based on the first 8-bit microprocessor from Intel, the 8008. The 8H came with 1K of random-access memory and was available either fully assembled or in a kit (consisting of circuit boards, power supply, etc. that the purchaser assembled). Some sources credit SCELBI being the first (March 1974, p. 154) advertised personal computer sold in kit form, with advertisements in QST, Radio-Electronics and later in BYTE magazine.



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1974

1974

SQL

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SQL

Donald D. Chamberlin & Raymond F. Boyce

Originally based upon relational algebra and tuple relational calculus, SQL consists of a data definition language and a data manipulation language. The scope of SQL includes data insert, query, update and delete, schema creation and modification, and data access control. Although SQL is often described as, and to a great extent is, a declarative language (4GL), it also includes procedural elements. SQL was one of the first commercial languages for Edgar F. Codd's relational model, as described in his influential 1970 paper "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks". Despite not entirely adhering to the relational model as described by Codd, it became the most widely used database language.



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1975

1975

Altair 8800

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Altair 8800

Ed Roberts and Forrest M. Mims III

Interest grew quickly after it was featured on the cover of the January, 1975, issue of Popular Electronics, and was sold by mail order through advertisements there, in Radio-Electronics and other hobbyist magazines. The designers hoped to sell a few hundred build-it-yourself kits to hobbyists, and were surprised when they sold thousands in the first month. The Altair also appealed to individuals and businesses that just wanted a computer and purchased the assembled version. The Altair is widely recognized as the spark that ignited the microcomputer revolution. The computer bus designed for the Altair was to become a de facto standard in the form of the S-100 bus, and the first programming language for the machine was Microsoft's founding product, Altair BASIC.



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1975

1975

Homebrew Computer Club

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Homebrew Computer Club

Gordon French and Fred Moore

Several very high-profile hackers and IT entrepreneurs emerged from its ranks, including the founders of Apple Inc. The short-lived newsletter they published was instrumental in creating the technological culture of Silicon Valley. The influence of the club was depicted in the made-for-television movie Pirates of Silicon Valley. The Homebrew Computer Club's newsletter was one of the most influential forces in the formation of the culture of Silicon Valley. Created and edited by its members, it initiated the idea of the Personal Computer, and helped its members build the original kit computers, like the Altair. One such influential event was the publication of Bill Gates's Open Letter to Hobbyists, which lambasted the early hackers of the time for pirating commercial software programs.



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1975

1975

IBM 5100

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IBM 5100

IBM

It was the evolution of a prototype called the SCAMP (Special Computer APL Machine Portable) that was developed at the IBM Palo Alto Scientific Center in 1973. In January 1978 IBM announced the IBM 5110, its larger cousin, and in February 1980 IBM announced the IBM 5120. The 5100 was withdrawn in March 1982. When the IBM PC was introduced in 1981, it was originally designated as the IBM 5150, putting it in the "5100" series, though its architecture was not directly descended from the IBM 5100.



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1976

1976

Apple I

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Apple I

Steve Wozniak

On March 5, 1975 Steve Wozniak attended the first meeting of the Homebrew Computer Club in Gordon French's garage. He was so inspired by that meeting that he immediately set to work on what would become the Apple I computer. The Apple I went on sale in July 1976 at a price of US$666.66, because Wozniak "liked repeating digits" and because they originally sold it to a local shop for $500 plus a one-third markup. About 200 units were produced. Unlike other hobbyist computers of its day, which were sold as kits, the Apple I was a fully assembled circuit board containing about 60+ chips. However, to make a working computer, users still had to add a case, power supply transformers, power switch, ASCII keyboard, and composite video display. An optional board providing a cassette interface for storage was later released at the cost of $72.



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1976

1976

Cray-1

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Cray-1

Seymour Cray/Lester Davis

The first Cray-1 system was installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1976 and it went on to become one of the best known and most successful supercomputers in history. The Cray-1's architect was Seymour Cray, the chief engineer was Cray Research co-founder Lester Davis. In 1975 the 80 MHz Cray-1 was announced. Excitement was so high that a bidding war for the first machine broke out between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the latter eventually winning and receiving serial number 001 in 1976 for a six-month trial. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) was first official customer of Cray Research in 1977, paying US$8.86 million ($7.9 million plus $1 million for the disks) for serial number 3. The NCAR machine was decommissioned in 1989. The company expected to sell perhaps a dozen of the machines, and set the selling price accordingly, but over eighty Cray-1s of all types were sold, priced from $5M to $8M. The machine made Cray a celebrity and the company a success, lasting until the supercomputer crash in the early 1990s.



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1977

1977

Apple II

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Apple II

Steve Wozniak/Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.)

The first Apple II computers went on sale on June 10, 1977 with a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor running at 1 MHz, 4 kB of RAM, an audio cassette interface for loading programs and storing data, and the Integer BASIC programming language built into the ROMs. The video controller displayed 24 lines by 40 columns of monochrome, upper-case-only (the original character set matches ASCII characters 20h to 5Fh) text on the screen, with NTSC composite video output suitable for display on a TV monitor, or on a regular TV set by way of a separate RF modulator. The original retail price of the computer was $1,298 USD (with 4 kB of RAM) and $2,638 USD (with the maximum 48 kB of RAM). To reflect the computer's color graphics capability, the Apple logo on the casing was represented using rainbow stripes, which remained a part of Apple's corporate logo until early 1998. The earliest Apple II's were assembled in Silicon Valley, and later in Texas; printed circuit boards were manufactured in Ireland and Singapore.



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1977

1977

TRS-80

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TRS-80

Don French/John V. Roach/Steve Leininger/Tandy Corporation

The original "TRS-80 Micro Computer System" launched in 1977 (later known as the Model I) was one of the earliest mass-produced personal computers. The first units, ordered unseen, were delivered in November 1977, and rolled out to the stores the third week of December. The line won popularity with hobbyists, home users, and small-businesses. Tandy Corporation's leading position in what Byte Magazine called the "1977 Trinity" (Apple, Commodore and Tandy) had much to do with Tandy's retailing the computer through more than 3,000 of its Radio Shack storefronts. Notable features of the original TRS-80 included its full-stroke QWERTY keyboard, small size, its floating point BASIC programming language, an included monitor, and a starting price of $600 (equivalent to $2,230 in 2011). The pre-release price was $500 and a $50 deposit was required, with a money back guarantee at time of delivery. One major drawback of the original system was the massive RF interference it caused in surrounding electronics. Stricter FCC regulations on interference led to the Model I's replacement by the Model III.



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1977

1977

Commodore PET

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Commodore PET

Chuck Peddle/Bill Seiler/John Feagans/Commodore International

In September 1976 Peddle got a demonstration of Jobs and Wozniak's Apple II prototype, when Jobs was offering to sell it to Commodore, but Commodore considered Jobs' offer too expensive. Tramiel demanded that Peddle, Bill Seiler, and John Feagans create a computer in time for the June 1977 Consumer Electronics Show, and gave them six months to do it. Tramiel's son, Leonard, helped design the PETSCII graphic characters and acted as quality control. The result was the first all-in-one home computer, the PET, the first model of which was the PET 2001. Its 6502 processor controlled the screen, keyboard, cassette tape recorders and any peripherals connected to one of the computer's several expansion ports. The PET 2001 included either 4 kB (2001-4) or 8 kB (2001-8) of 8-bit RAM, and was essentially a single-board computer with discrete logic driving a small built-in monochrome monitor with 40√-25 character graphics, enclosed in a sheet metal case that reflected Commodore's background as a manufacturer of office equipment.



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1978

1978

VisiCalc Spreadsheet Software

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VisiCalc Spreadsheet Software

Dan Bricklin & Bob Frankston

VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet computer program, originally released for the Apple II. It is often considered the application that turned the microcomputer from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into a serious business tool. VisiCalc sold over 700,000 copies in six years.



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1979

1979

WordStar Software

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WordStar Software

Seymour Rubenstein & Rob Barnaby

WordStar is a word processor application that had a dominant market share during the early- to mid-1980s. Formerly published by MicroPro International it was originally written for the CP/M operating system but later ported to DOS. Although Seymour I. Rubinstein was the principal owner of the company, Rob Barnaby was the sole author of the early versions of the program. Starting with WordStar 4.0, the program was built on new code written principally by Peter Mierau.



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1980

1980

ZX80

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ZX80

Jim Westwood/Science of Cambridge Ltd.

The Sinclair ZX80 is a home computer brought to market in 1980 by Science of Cambridge Ltd. (later to be better known as Sinclair Research). It is notable for being the first computer (unless one counts the MK14) available in the United Kingdom for less than a hundred pounds. It was available in kit form for £79.95, where purchasers had to assemble and solder it together, and as a ready-built version at £99.95. The ZX80 was very popular straight away, and for some time there was a waiting list of several months for either version of the machine.



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1981

1981

The IBM PC - Home Computer

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The IBM PC - Home Computer

IBM

The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981. It was created by a team of engineers and designers under the direction of Don Estridge of the IBM Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida.



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1981

1981

MS-DOS Computer Operating System

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MS-DOS Computer Operating System

Microsoft

MS-DOS (short for Microsoft Disk Operating System) is an operating system for x86-based personal computers. It was the most commonly used member of the DOS family of operating systems, and was the main operating system for IBM PC compatible personal computers during the 1980s to the mid-1990s, until it was gradually superseded by operating systems offering a graphical user interface (GUI), in particular by various generations of the Microsoft Windows operating system.



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1981

1981

ZX81

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ZX81

Rick Dickinson/Sinclair Research

The ZX81 was designed to be small, simple, and above all cheap, using as few components as possible to keep the cost down. Video output was to a television set rather than a dedicated monitor. Programs and data were loaded and saved onto audio tape cassettes. It had only four silicon chips on board and a mere 1 kB of memory. The machine had no moving parts ‚?" not even a power switch ‚?" and used a pressure-sensitive membrane keyboard for manual input. The ZX81's limitations prompted the emergence of a flourishing market in third-party peripherals to improve its capabilities. Such limitations, however, achieved Sinclair's objective of keeping the cost of the machine as low as possible. Its distinctive design brought its designer, Rick Dickinson, a Design Council award. The ZX81 could be bought by mail order in kit form or pre-assembled. In what was then a major innovation, it was the first cheap mass-market home computer that could be bought from high street stores, led by W.H. Smith and soon many other retailers. The ZX81 marked the first time that computing in Britain became an activity for the general public, rather than the preserve of businesspeople and electronics hobbyists. It inspired the creation of a huge community of enthusiasts, some of whom founded their own businesses producing software and hardware for the ZX81. Many went on to play a major role in the British computer industry in later years. The ZX81's commercial success made Sinclair Research one of Britain's leading computer manufacturers and earned a fortune and an eventual knighthood for the company's founder, Sir Clive Sinclair.



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1981

1981

BBC Micro

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BBC Micro

Steve Furber and Sophie Wilson/Acorn Computers

After the Literacy Project's call for bids for a computer to accompany the TV programmes and literature, Acorn won the contract with the Proton, a successor of its Atom computer prototyped at short notice. Renamed the BBC Micro, the system was adopted by most schools in the United Kingdom, changing Acorn's fortunes. It was also moderately successful as a home computer in the UK despite its high cost. Acorn also employed the machine to simulate and develop the ARM architecture which is much used for embedded systems. Globally, as of 2013, ARM is the most widely used 32-bit instruction set architecture in terms of quantity produced. While nine models were eventually produced with the BBC brand, the term "BBC Micro" is usually used colloquially to refer to the first six (Model A, B, B+64, B+128, Master 128, and Master Compact), with the subsequent models considered as part of Acorn's Archimedes series.



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1982

1982

ZX Spectrum

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ZX Spectrum

Richard Altwasser/Rick Dickinson/Sinclair Research

Referred to during development as the ZX81 Colour and ZX82, the machine was launched as the ZX Spectrum by Sinclair to highlight the machine's colour display, compared with the black-and-white of its predecessor, the ZX81. The Spectrum was ultimately released as eight different models, ranging from the entry level model with 16 kB RAM released in 1982 to the ZX Spectrum +3 with 128 kB RAM and built in floppy disk drive in 1987; together they sold in excess of 5 million units worldwide (not counting numerous clones). The Spectrum was among the first mainstream audience home computers in the UK, similar in significance to the Commodore 64 in the USA. The introduction of the ZX Spectrum led to a boom in companies producing software and hardware for the machine, the effects of which are still seen; some credit it as the machine which launched the UK IT industry. Licensing deals and clones followed, and earned Clive Sinclair a knighthood for "services to British industry".



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1983

1983

Cray X-MP

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Cray X-MP

Steve Chen/Cray Research

The X-MP's main improvement over the Cray-1 was that it was a shared-memory parallel vector processor, the first such computer from Cray Research. It housed two CPUs in a mainframe that was nearly identical in outside appearance to the Cray-1. The X-MP CPU had a faster 9.5 nanosecond clock cycle (105 MHz), compared to 12.5 ns for the Cray-1A. It was built from bipolar gate-array integrated circuits containing 16 emitter-coupled logic gates each. The CPU was very similar to the Cray-1 CPU in architecture, but had better memory bandwidth (with two read ports and one write port to the main memory instead of one) and improved chaining support. Each CPU had a theoretical peak performance of 200 MFLOPS, for a peak system performance of 400 MFLOPS. The X-MP initially supported 2 million 64-bit words (16 MB) of main memory in 16 banks, respectively. Memory bandwidth was significantly improved over the Cray-1‚?"instead of one port for both reads and writes, there were now two read ports, one write port, and one dedicated to I/O. The main memory was built from 4 Kbit bipolar SRAM ICs. CMOS memory versions of the Cray-1M were renamed Cray X-MP/1s. This configuration was first used for Cray Research's UNIX port.



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1983

1983

Apple Lisa Computer

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Apple Lisa Computer

Apple

The Lisa is a personal computer designed by Apple Computer, Inc. during the early 1980s. It was the first personal computer to offer a graphical user interface in an inexpensive machine aimed at individual business users. Development of the Lisa began in 1978 as a powerful personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) targeted toward business customers.



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1983

1983

C++

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C++

Bjarne Stroustrup

C++ is one of the most popular programming languages and is implemented on a wide variety of hardware and operating system platforms. As an efficient compiler to native code, its application domains include systems software, application software, device drivers, embedded software, high-performance server and client applications, and entertainment software such as video games. Several groups provide both free and proprietary C++ compiler software, including the GNU Project, LLVM, Microsoft, Intel and Embarcadero Technologies. C++ has greatly influenced many other popular programming languages, most notably C# and Java. C++ is also used for hardware design, where the design is initially described in C++, then analyzed, architecturally constrained, and scheduled to create a register-transfer level hardware description language via high-level synthesis. The language began as enhancements to C, first adding classes, then virtual functions, operator overloading, multiple inheritance, templates and exception handling, among other features. After years of development, the C++ programming language standard was ratified in 1998 as ISO/IEC 14882:1998. The standard was amended by the 2003 technical corrigendum, ISO/IEC 14882:2003. The current standard extending C++ with new features was ratified and published by ISO in September 2011 as ISO/IEC 14882:2011 (informally known as C++11).



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1984

1984

Apple Macintosh Computer

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Apple Macintosh Computer

Apple

The Macintosh, marketed as Mac, is a line of personal computers (PCs) designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc. It is targeted mainly at the home, education, and creative professional markets. The line includes the descendants of the first commercially successful personal computer that was sold without a programming language package and instead introduced a desktop publishing package, a mouse and a graphical user interface, all three novelties for the time.



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1984

1984

MATLAB

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MATLAB

MathWorks

Developed by MathWorks, MATLAB allows matrix manipulations, plotting of functions and data, implementation of algorithms, creation of user interfaces, and interfacing with programs written in other languages, including C, C++, Java, and Fortran. Although MATLAB is intended primarily for numerical computing, an optional toolbox uses the MuPAD symbolic engine, allowing access to symbolic computing capabilities. An additional package, Simulink, adds graphical multi-domain simulation and Model-Based Design for dynamic and embedded systems. In 2004, MATLAB had around one million users across industry and academia. MATLAB users come from various backgrounds of engineering, science, and economics. MATLAB is widely used in academic and research institutions as well as industrial enterprises.



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1985

1985

Microsoft Windows

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Microsoft Windows

Microsoft

Microsoft Windows is a series of graphical interface operating systems developed, marketed, and sold by Microsoft. Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUI). Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984.



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1985

1985

Amiga

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Amiga

Jay Miner/Amiga Corporation/Commodore International

The first model was launched in 1985 as a high-end home computer and became popular for its graphical, audio and multi-tasking abilities. The Amiga provided a significant upgrade from 8-bit computers, such as the Commodore 64, and the platform quickly grew in popularity among computer enthusiasts. The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 and became the leading home computer of the late 1980s and early 1990s in much of Western Europe. In North America success was more modest. The Amiga went on to sell approximately six million units. Second generation Amiga systems (the A1200 and the A4000) were released in 1992. However, poor marketing and failure to repeat the technological advances of the first systems meant that the Amiga quickly lost its market share to competing platforms, such as the fourth generation game consoles, Apple Macintosh and IBM PC compatibles.



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1985

1985

Atari ST

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Atari ST

Leonard Tramiel/Atari Corporation

The ST was primarily a competitor to the Apple Macintosh, Commodore Amiga and in certain markets the Acorn Archimedes. Where the Amiga had a graphics accelerator and wavetable synthesis, the ST had a simple frame buffer and a 3 voice synthesizer chip but with a CPU faster clocked, and had a high-resolution monochrome display mode, ideal for business and CAD. In some markets, particularly Germany, the machine gained a strong foothold as a small business machine for CAD and Desktop publishing work. The Atari ST also enjoyed some market popularity in Canada. The ST was also the first home computer with integrated MIDI support. Thanks to its built-in MIDI, it enjoyed success for running music-sequencer software and as a controller of musical instruments among amateurs and professionals alike, being used in concert by bands and performers such as Jean Michel Jarre, Madonna, Eurythmics, Tangerine Dream, Fatboy Slim, and 1990s UK dance acts Utah Saints & 808 State, as well as naming German digital hardcore band Atari Teenage Riot.



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1986

1986

Objective-C

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Objective-C

Brad Cox and Tom Love

It is the main programming language used by Apple for the OS X and iOS operating systems and their respective APIs, Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. Originally developed in the early 1980s, it was selected as the main language used by NeXT for its NeXTSTEP operating system, from which OS X and iOS are derived. Generic Objective-C programs that do not use the Cocoa or Cocoa Touch libraries can also be compiled for any system supported by GCC or Clang.



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1987

1987

4 and 16 Mbit Chips

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4 and 16 Mbit Chips

Unknown

In 1987, computer chips were upgraded to experimental 4 and 16 megabit versions beginning to be used, which offered faster user speeds and better quality.



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1987

1987

Perl

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Perl

Larry Wall

Though Perl is not officially an acronym, there are various backronyms in use, such as: Practical Extraction and Reporting Language. Perl was originally developed by Larry Wall in 1987 as a general-purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions. The latest major stable revision of Perl 5 is 5.18, released in May 2013. Perl 6, which began as a redesign of Perl 5 in 2000, eventually evolved into a separate language. Both languages continue to be developed independently by different development teams and liberally borrow ideas from one another. The Perl languages borrow features from other programming languages including C, shell scripting (sh), AWK, and sed. They provide powerful text processing facilities without the arbitrary data-length limits of many contemporary Unix tools, facilitating easy manipulation of text files. Perl 5 gained widespread popularity in the late 1990s as a CGI scripting language, in part due to its parsing abilities. In addition to CGI, Perl 5 is used for graphics programming, system administration, network programming, finance, bioinformatics, and other applications. It's nicknamed "the Swiss Army chainsaw of scripting languages" because of its flexibility and power, and possibly also because of its perceived "ugliness". In 1998, it was also referred to as the "duct tape that holds the Internet together", in reference to its ubiquity and perceived inelegance.



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1988

1988

RISC Microprocessors

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RISC Microprocessors

Motorola

Reduced instruction set computing, or RISC, is a CPU design strategy based on the insight that simplified (as opposed to complex) instructions can provide higher performance if this simplicity enables much faster execution of each instruction. A computer based on this strategy is a reduced instruction set computer, also called RISC. The opposing architecture is known as complex instruction set computing, i.e. CISC.



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1989

1989

WWW Proposal to CERN

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WWW Proposal to CERN

Tim Berners-Lee

In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee (the creator of the internet) wrote to CERN with a proposal to industrialise the internet and offer it to everyone in the world.



Image Credit: cern

1989

1989

80486 chip

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80486 chip

Intel

The Intel 80486 (Marketed i486, spoken as Intel 486) was a higher performance follow-up to the Intel 80386 microprocessor. Introduced in 1989, it was the first tightly pipelined x86 design as well as the first x86 chip to use more than a million transistors, due to a large on-chip cache and an integrated floating-point unit. It represents a fourth generation of binary compatible CPUs since the original 8086 of 1978.



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1990

1990

Windows 3.0

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Windows 3.0

Microsoft

Windows 3.0, a graphical environment, is the third major release of Microsoft Windows, and was released on May 22, 1990. It became the first widely successful version of Windows and a rival to Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga on the GUI front. It was followed by Windows 3.1.



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1990

1990

All optical processor

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All optical processor

Bell Labs

Optical or photonic computing uses photons produced by lasers or diodes for computation. Compared to electrons, which move in and out of transistors in current computers, photons allow for a higher bandwidth.



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1990

1990

RISC Computers

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RISC Computers

HP and IBM

RISC OS is a computer operating system originally designed by Acorn Computers Ltd in Cambridge, England in 1987. RISC OS was specifically designed to run on the ARM chipset, which Acorn had designed concurrently, for use in its new line of Archimedes personal computers. It takes its name from the RISC (reduced instruction set computing) architecture supported.



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1990

1990

Prototype World Wide Web

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Prototype World Wide Web

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee shared his original prototype for an Internet browser that would allow people to share information by using a special mark-up language to post text, link to other documents, and display graphic images.



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1991

1991

Python (programming language)

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Python (programming language)

Guido van Rossum

Its design philosophy emphasizes code readability, and its syntax allows programmers to express concepts in fewer lines of code than would be possible in languages such as C. The language provides constructs intended to enable clear programs on both a small and large scale. Python supports multiple programming paradigms, including object-oriented, imperative and functional programming styles. It features a dynamic type system and automatic memory management and has a large and comprehensive standard library. Like other dynamic languages, Python is often used as a scripting language, but is also used in a wide range of non-scripting contexts. Using third-party tools, Python code can be packaged into standalone executable programs. Python interpreters are available for many operating systems. CPython, the reference implementation of Python, is free and open source software and has a community-based development model, as do nearly all of its alternative implementations. CPython is managed by the non-profit Python Software Foundation.



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1991

1991

Visual Basic

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Visual Basic

Microsoft

Visual Basic is designed to be relatively easy to learn and use. Visual Basic was derived from BASIC and enables the rapid application development (RAD) of graphical user interface (GUI) applications, access to databases using Data Access Objects, Remote Data Objects, or ActiveX Data Objects, and creation of ActiveX controls and objects. The scripting language VBScript is a subset of Visual Basic. A programmer can create an application using the components provided by the Visual Basic program itself. Programs written in Visual Basic can also use the Windows API, but doing so requires external function declarations. Though the program has received criticism for its perceived faults, version 3 of Visual Basic was a runaway commercial success, and many companies offered third party controls greatly extending its functionality. The final release was version 6 in 1998. Microsoft's extended support ended in March 2008 and the designated successor was Visual Basic .NET (now known simply as Visual Basic). A dialect of Visual Basic, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), is used as a macro or scripting language within several Microsoft applications, including Microsoft Office.



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1991

1991

GNU/Linux

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GNU/Linux

Linus Torvalds/Richard Stallman et al.

The defining component of Linux is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on 5 October 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Since the C compiler that builds Linux and the main supporting user space system tools and libraries originated in the GNU Project, initiated in 1983 by Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation prefers the name GNU/Linux. Linux was originally developed as a free operating system for Intel x86-based personal computers. It has since been ported to more computer hardware platforms than any other operating system. It is a leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers and supercomputers: more than 90% of today's 500 fastest supercomputers run some variant of Linux, including the 10 fastest. Linux also runs on embedded systems (devices where the operating system is typically built into the firmware and highly tailored to the system) such as mobile phones, tablet computers, network routers, building automation controls, televisions and video game consoles; the Android system in wide use on mobile devices is built on the Linux kernel.



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1991

1991

AOL

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AOL

Marc Seriff, Tom Ralston, Ken Huntsman, Janet Hunter, Dave Brown, Steve Trus, Ray Heinrich, Mike Ficco, Craig Dykstra, and Doug Coward

Steve Case positioned AOL as the online service for people unfamiliar with computers, in particular contrast to CompuServe, which had long served the technical community. The PlayNet system that AOL licensed was the first online service to require use of proprietary software, rather than a standard terminal program; it also offered a graphical user interface (GUI) instead of command lines, and was well ahead of the competition in emphasizing communication among members as a feature. From the beginning, AOL included online games in its mix of products; many classic and casual games were included in the original PlayNet software system. In the early years of AOL the company introduced many innovative online interactive titles and games.



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1992

1992

M-bone audio multicast

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M-bone audio multicast



Mbone (short for "multicast backbone") was an experimental backbone for IP multicast traffic across the Internet developed in the early 1990s. It required specialized hardware and software. Since most Internet routers have IP multicast disabled due to concerns of bandwidth tracking and billing, the Mbone evolved to connect multicast-capable networks over the existing Internet infrastructure. The commercialization of multicast routers is difficult because there are no efficient access control capabilities to the multicast trees (multicast routers and their protocols), and because Internet service providers have difficulty computing charges for multicast traffic.



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1992

1992

First 64-bit RISC Chip

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First 64-bit RISC Chip

DEC

Intel introduces the Intel i860 RISC processor. Marketed as a "64-Bit Microprocessor", it had essentially a 32-bit architecture, enhanced with a 3D Graphics Unit capable of 64-bit integer operations.



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1992

1992

OpenGL

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OpenGL

Silicon Graphics/Khronos Group

The API is typically used to interact with a Graphics processing unit (GPU), to achieve hardware-accelerated rendering. OpenGL was developed by Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) from 1991 and released in January 1992 and is widely used in CAD, virtual reality, scientific visualization, information visualization, flight simulation, and video games. OpenGL is managed by the non-profit technology consortium Khronos Group. The OpenGL specification describes an abstract API for drawing 2D and 3D graphics. Although it's possible for the API to be implemented entirely in software, it's designed to be implemented mostly or entirely in hardware. The API is defined as a number of functions which may be called by the client program, alongside a number of named integer constants (for example, the constant GL_TEXTURE_2D, which corresponds to the decimal number 3553). Although the function definitions are superficially similar to those of the C programming language, they are language-independent. As such, OpenGL has many language bindings, some of the most noteworthy being the JavaScript binding WebGL (API, based on OpenGL ES 2.0, for 3D rendering from within a web browser); the C bindings WGL, GLX and CGL; the C binding provided by iOS; and the Java and C bindings provided by Android. In addition to being language-independent, OpenGL is also platform-independent. The specification says nothing on the subject of obtaining, and managing, an OpenGL context, leaving this as a detail of the underlying windowing system. For the same reason, OpenGL is purely concerned with rendering, providing no APIs related to input, audio, or windowing.



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1993

1993

Newton

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Newton

Apple

The Newton platform is a personal digital assistant developed by Apple Inc.. Development of the Newton platform started in 1987 and officially ended on February 27, 1998. Some electronic engineering and the manufacture of Apple's Newton devices was done by Motorola. Most Newton devices were based on the ARM 610 RISC processor and all featured handwriting recognition software. Most Newton devices were developed and marketed by Apple (this includes the whole MessagePad line and the eMate 300), but other companies ‚?" Motorola, Sharp, and Digital Ocean ‚?" also released devices that ran the Newton OS.



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1993

1993

Pentium

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Pentium

Intel

Pentium is a brand used for a series of x86-compatible microprocessors produced by Intel. In its most current form, a Pentium processor is a consumer-level product that Intel rates as "two stars", meaning that it is above the low-end Atom and Celeron products but below the faster Core i3, i5 and i7 lines as well as the high-end Xeon processors.



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1993

1993

NCSA Mosaic

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NCSA Mosaic

University of Illinois

NCSA Mosaic, or simply Mosaic, is the web browser credited with popularizing the World Wide Web. It was also a client for earlier protocols such as FTP, NNTP, and gopher. The browser was named for its support of multiple internet protocols. Its intuitive interface, reliability, Windows port and simple installation all contributed to its popularity within the web, as well as on Microsoft operating systems. Mosaic was also the first browser to display images inline with text instead of displaying images in a separate window. While often described as the first graphical web browser, Mosaic was preceded by WorldWideWeb and the lesser-known Erwise and ViolaWWW.



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1993

1993

Macromedia Flash

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Macromedia Flash

Charlie Jackson, Jonathan Gay and Michelle Welsh

Flash manipulates vector and raster graphics to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images. It allows bidirectional streaming of audio and video, and it can capture user input via mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera. Flash applications and animations can be programmed using the object-oriented language called ActionScript. Adobe Flash Professional is the most popular and user-friendly authoring tool for creating the Flash content, which also allows automation via the JavaScript Flash language (JSFL). Adobe Flash Player makes the Flash content accessible on various computer systems and devices and is available free of charge for common web browsers (as a plug-in) under a few of the major operating systems, some smartphones and tablets, and a few other electronic devices using Flash Lite.



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1994

1994

Browser

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Browser

Netscape

The Netscape browser was first released in October 1994. In mid-1994, Silicon Graphics founder Jim Clark had begun collaborating with Marc Andreessen to found Mosaic Communications, named after a University of Illinois software project. (The company was later renamed Netscape Communications.) Within about 6 months, many of the resources from the university's National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Mosaic Project were working for Netscape, and a Mosaic-based browser was released to the public. Version 8.0 was made generally available on May 19, 2005. A minor update known as version 8.0.1 was released a few hours later to incorporate the key security patches added in Firefox 1.0.4.



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1995

1995

Computer Generated movie

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Computer Generated movie

Pixar

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of computer graphics to create or contribute to images in art, printed media, video games, films, television programs, commercials, and simulators. The visual scenes may be dynamic or static, and may be two-dimensional (2D), though the term CGI is most commonly used to refer to 3D computer graphics used for creating scenes or special effects in films and television. They can also be used by a home user and edited together on programs such as Windows Movie Maker or iMovie.



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1995

1995

Java

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Java

James Gosling/Sun Microsystems

Java is a general-purpose, concurrent, class-based, object-oriented computer programming language that is specifically designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. Image Credit: digital trends



Image Credit: digital trends

1995

1995

Amazon.com

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Amazon.com

Amazon

Amazon.com, Inc. is an American multinational electronic commerce company with headquarters in Seattle, Washington, United States. It is the world's largest online retailer. Amazon.com started as an online bookstore, but soon diversified, selling DVDs, CDs, video and MP3 downloads/streaming, software, video games, electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, and jewelry. The company also produces consumer electronics‚?"notably the Amazon Kindle e-book reader and the Kindle Fire tablet computer‚?"and is a major provider of cloud computing services.



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1995

1995

Windows 95

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Windows 95

Microsoft

Windows 95 is a consumer-oriented graphical user interface-based operating system. It was released on August 24, 1995 by Microsoft, and was a significant progression from the company's previous Windows products. During development, it was referred to as Windows 4.0 or by the internal codename Chicago. Windows 95 integrated Microsoft's formerly separate MS-DOS and Windows products. It featured significant improvements over its predecessor, Windows 3.1, most notably in the graphical user interface (GUI) and in its relatively simplified "plug-n-play" features. There were also major changes made at lower levels of the operating system, such as moving from a mainly 16-bit architecture to a pre-emptively multitasked 32-bit architecture.



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1995

1995

JavaScript

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JavaScript

Brendan Eich

JavaScript is a prototype-based scripting language with dynamic typing and has first-class functions. Its syntax was influenced by the language C. JavaScript copies many names and naming conventions from Java, but the two languages are otherwise unrelated and have very different semantics. The key design principles within JavaScript are taken from the Self and Scheme programming languages. It is a multi-paradigm language, supporting object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles. JavaScript's use in applications outside of web pages‚?"for example, in PDF documents, site-specific browsers, and desktop widgets‚?"is also significant. Newer and faster JavaScript VMs and frameworks built upon them (notably Node.js) have also increased the popularity of JavaScript for server-side web applications. JavaScript was formalized in the ECMAScript language standard and is primarily used as part of a web browser (client-side JavaScript). This enables programmatic access to computational objects within a host environment.



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1995

1995

PHP

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PHP

Rasmus Lerdorf

PHP is now installed on more than 244 million websites and 2.1 million web servers. Originally created by Rasmus Lerdorf in 1995, the reference implementation of PHP is now produced by The PHP Group. While PHP originally stood for Personal Home Page, it now stands for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor, a recursive acronym. PHP code is interpreted by a web server with a PHP processor module which generates the resulting web page: PHP commands can be embedded directly into an HTML source document rather than calling an external file to process data. It has also evolved to include a command-line interface capability and can be used in standalone graphical applications. PHP is free software released under the PHP License, which is incompatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL) due to restrictions on the usage of the term PHP. PHP can be deployed on most web servers and also as a standalone shell on almost every operating system and platform, free of charge.



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1996

1996

Intel Pentium Pro

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Intel Pentium Pro

Intel

The Pentium Pro is a sixth-generation x86 microprocessor developed and manufactured by Intel introduced in November 1, 1995. It introduced the P6 microarchitecture (sometimes referred to as i686) and was originally intended to replace the original Pentium in a full range of applications. While the Pentium and Pentium MMX had 3.1 and 4.5 million transistors, respectively, the Pentium Pro contained 5.5 million transistors. Later, it was reduced to a more narrow role as a server and high-end desktop processor and was used in supercomputers like ASCI Red. The Pentium Pro was capable of both dual- and quad-processor configurations. It only came in one form factor, the relatively large rectangular Socket 8. The Pentium Pro was succeeded by the Pentium II Xeon in 1998. The Pentium Pro processor powered ASCI Red, the first computer to reach the TeraFlop performance mark.



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1998

1998

Google

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Google

Google

Google Inc. is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include search, cloud computing, software and online advertising technologies. Most of its profits are derived from AdWords. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Together they own about 16 percent of its shares. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. An initial public offering followed on August 19, 2004. Its mission statement from the outset was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", and its unofficial slogan was "Don't be evil". In 2006 Google moved to headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex.



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1999

1999

Napster

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Napster

Napster

Napster is a name given to two music-focused online services. It was originally founded as a pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing Internet service that emphasized sharing audio files, typically music, encoded in MP3 format. The original company ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement, ceased operations and was eventually acquired by Roxio. In its second incarnation Napster became an online music store until it was acquired by Rhapsody from Best Buy on 1 December 2011.



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1999

1999

SETI@home

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SETI@home

SETI

SETI@home is an Internet-based public volunteer computing project employing the BOINC software platform, hosted by the Space Sciences Laboratory, at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States. SETI is an acronym for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Its purpose is to analyze radio signals, searching for signs of extra terrestrial intelligence, and is one of many activities undertaken as part of SETI.



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2000

2000

C#

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C#

Anders Hejlsberg

C# is a multi-paradigm programming language encompassing strong typing, imperative, declarative, functional, procedural, generic, object-oriented (class-based), and component-oriented programming disciplines. It was developed by Microsoft within its .NET initiative and later approved as a standard by Ecma (ECMA-334) and ISO (ISO/IEC 23270:2006). C# is one of the programming languages designed for the Common Language Infrastructure.



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2001

2001

Wikipedia

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Wikipedia

Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Wikipedia's 30 million articles in 286 languages, including over 4.2 million in the English Wikipedia, are written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone having access to the site and not being blocked. It is the largest and most popular general reference work on the Internet, ranking seventh globally among all websites on Alexa as of June 2013, and having an estimated 365 million readers worldwide.



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2001

2001

iPod

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iPod

Apple

The iPod is a line of portable media players designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first line was released on October 23, 2001, about 8 months before iTunes was released and its most recent redesigns were announced on September 12, 2012. There are four current versions of the iPod: the ultra-compact iPod Shuffle, the compact iPod Nano, the touchscreen iPod Touch, and the hard drive-based iPod Classic.



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2001

2001

Visual Basic .NET

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Visual Basic .NET

Microsoft

Microsoft currently supplies two main editions of IDEs for developing in Visual Basic: Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, which is commercial software and Visual Basic Express Edition 2012, which is free of charge. The command-line compiler, VBC.EXE, is installed as part of the freeware .NET Framework SDK. Mono also includes a command-line VB.NET compiler. The most recent version is VB 2012, which was released on August 15, 2012.



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2002

2002

Earth Simulator

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Earth Simulator

Japanese Government

The Earth Simulator (ES), developed by the Japanese government's initiative "Earth Simulator Project", was a highly parallel vector supercomputer system for running global climate models to evaluate the effects of global warming and problems in solid earth geophysics. The system was developed for Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, and Japan Marine Science and Technology Center (JAMSTEC) in 1997. Construction started in October 1999, and the site officially opened on March 11, 2002. The project cost 60 billion yen.



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2003

2003

Skype

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Skype

Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, Jaan Tallinn, Janus Friis, Swedish Niklas Zennstrom

Skype is a proprietary voice-over-IP service and software application. Skype was first released in August 2003 written by Estonian developers Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu, and Jaan Tallinn, Danish Janus Friis, and Swedish Niklas Zennström, who had also originally developed Kazaa. Skype has 663 million registered users as of the end of 2010. It was bought by Microsoft in 2011 for $8.5 billion. Microsoft's Skype division headquarters is in Luxembourg, but most of the development team and 44% of the overall employees of the division are still situated in Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia.



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2003

2003

iTunes

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iTunes

Apple

iTunes is a media player and media library application developed by Apple Inc. It is used to play, download, and organize digital audio and video on personal computers running the OS X operating system and the iOS-based iPod, iPhone, and iPad devices, with editions also released for Microsoft Windows.



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2003

2003

Mozilla

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Mozilla



Mozilla is a free software community best known for producing the Firefox web browser. The Mozilla community uses, develops, spreads and supports Mozilla products and works to advance the goals of the Open Web described in the Mozilla Manifesto. The community is supported institutionally by the Mozilla Foundation and its tax-paying subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. In addition to the Firefox browser, Mozilla also produces Thunderbird, Firefox Mobile, the Firefox OS mobile operating system, the bug tracking system Bugzilla and a number of other projects.



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2004

2004

Facebook

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Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook is an online social networking service, whose name stems from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of the academic year by some university administrations in the United States to help students get to know each other. It was founded in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow Harvard University students Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes. The website's membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over. Facebook now allows any users who declare themselves to be at least 13 years old to become registered users of the site.



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2004

2004

Gmail

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Gmail

Google

Gmail is a free, advertising-supported email service provided by Google. Users may access Gmail as secure webmail, as well as via POP3 or IMAP4 protocols. Gmail initially started as an invitation-only beta release on April 1, 2004 and it became available to the general public on February 7, 2007, though still in beta status at that time. The service was upgraded from beta status on July 7, 2009, along with the rest of the Google Apps suite.



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2004

2004

Google Maps

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Google Maps

Lars and Jens Rasmussen/Where 2 Technologies/Google Inc

Google Maps provides high-resolution aerial or satellite images for most urban areas all over the world. Most of the world's current satellite imagery is over 5 years old and updated infrequently, resulting in not showing the newer features and updates that have been made to various infrastructures. Various governments have complained about the potential for terrorists to use the satellite images in planning attacks. Google has blurred some areas for security (mostly in the United States), previously the United States Capitol, the White House, and the U.S. Naval Observatory area (where the official residence of the Vice President is located). Other well-known government installations, including Area 51 in the Nevada desert, are visible.



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2005

2005

Youtube

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Youtube



YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005 and owned by Google since late 2006, on which users can upload, view and share videos. The company is based in San Bruno, California, and uses Adobe Flash Video and HTML5 technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips, and music videos, as well as amateur content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos.



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2006

2006

Twitter

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Twitter

Jack Dorsey

Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based messages of up to 140 characters, known as "tweets".



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2007

2007

Kindle

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Kindle

Amazon

The Amazon Kindle is a series of e-book readers designed and marketed by Amazon.com. Amazon Kindle devices enable users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media via wireless networking. The hardware platform, developed by Amazon.com subsidiary Lab126, began as a single device and now comprises a range of devices ‚?" most using an E Ink electronic paper display capable of rendering 16 tones to simulate reading on paper while minimizing power consumption.



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2007

2007

iPhone

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iPhone

Apple

The iPhone is a line of smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. It runs Apple's iOS mobile operating system, known as the "iPhone OS" until June 2010, with the release of iOS 4. The first generation iPhone was released on June 29, 2007; the most recent iPhone, the sixth-generation iPhone 5, on September 21, 2012. The user interface is built around the device's multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard. The iPhone has Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity (2G, 3G, 4G, and LTE).



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2007

2007

Google Street View

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Google Street View

Google Inc.

Google Street View displays panoramas of stitched images taken from a fleet of specially adapted cars. Areas not accessible by car, like pedestrian areas, narrow streets, alleys and ski resorts, are sometimes covered by Google Trikes (tricycles) or snowmobiles. On each of these vehicles there are nine directional cameras for 360¬į views at a height of about 8.2 feet, or 2.5 meters, GPS units for positioning and three laser range scanners from Sick AG for the measuring of up to 50 meters 180degrees in the front of the vehicle. These are used for recording a rough 3D model of the surroundings, enabling faux-3D transitions between distinct panoramas where the environment images are momentarily mapped onto this 3D model while being crossfaded to create an animated perspective change as the user travels from one panorama to another. There are also 3G/GSM/Wi-Fi antennas for scanning 3G/GSM and Wi-Fi hotspots. More recently, high quality images have been based on open source hardware cameras from Elphel.



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2008

2008

Android (operating system)

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Android (operating system)

Andy Rubin/Rich Miner/Nick Sears/Chris White/Google/Open Handset Alliance/Android Open Source Project

Android is open source and Google releases the code under the Apache License. This open source code and permissive licensing allows the software to be freely modified and distributed by device manufacturers, wireless carriers and enthusiast developers. Additionally, Android has a large community of developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of devices, written primarily in a customized version of the Java programming language. In October 2012, there were approximately 700,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from Google Play, Android's primary app store, was 25 billion. These factors have contributed towards making Android the world's most widely used smartphone platform, overtaking Symbian in the fourth quarter of 2010, and the software of choice for technology companies who require a low-cost, customizable, lightweight operating system for high tech devices without developing one from scratch. As a result, despite being primarily designed for phones and tablets, it has seen additional applications on televisions, games consoles, digital cameras and other electronics. Android's open nature has further encouraged a large community of developers and enthusiasts to use the open source code as a foundation for community-driven projects, which add new features for advanced users or bring Android to devices which were officially released running other operating systems. A report in July 2013 stated that Android's share of the global smartphone market, led by Samsung products, was 64% in March 2013. The operating system's success has made it a target for patent litigation as part of the so-called "smartphone wars" between technology companies. As of May 2013, a total of 900 million Android devices have been activated and 48 billion apps have been installed from the Google Play store.



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2010

2010

iPad

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iPad

Apple

The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed and marketed by Apple Inc., which runs Apple's iOS. The first iPad was released on April 3, 2010; the most recent iPad models, the fourth-generation iPad and iPad Mini, were released on November 2, 2012. The user interface is built around the device's multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard. The iPad has built-in Wi-Fi and, on some models, cellular connectivity.



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2011

2011

WebGL

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WebGL

Mozilla

WebGL is integrated completely into all the web standards of the browser allowing GPU accelerated usage of physics and image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas. WebGL elements can be mixed with other HTML elements and composited with other parts of the page or page background. WebGL programs consist of control code written in JavaScript and shader code that is executed on a computer's Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). WebGL is designed and maintained by the non-profit Khronos Group.



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2012

2012

Titan (supercomputer)

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Titan (supercomputer)

Cray Inc.

Titan is an upgrade of Jaguar, a previous supercomputer at Oak Ridge, which uses graphics processing units (GPUs) in addition to conventional central processing units (CPUs). It is the first such hybrid to perform over 10 petaFLOPS. The upgrade began in October 2011, commenced stability testing in October 2012 and it became available to researchers in early 2013. The initial cost of the upgrade was US$60 million, funded primarily by the United States Department of Energy. Titan has AMD Opteron CPUs in conjunction with Nvidia Tesla GPUs to improve energy efficiency while providing an order of magnitude increase in computational power over Jaguar. It uses 18,688 CPUs paired with an equal number of GPUs to perform at a theoretical peak of 27 petaFLOPS; in the LINPACK benchmark used to rank supercomputers' speed, it performed at 17.59 petaFLOPS. This was enough to take first place in the November 2012 list by the TOP500 organization but it was overtaken by Tianhe-2 in the June 2013 list. Titan is available for any scientific purpose; selection for time on the computer depends on the importance of the project and its potential to fully utilize the hybrid architecture. Any selected code must also be executable on other supercomputers to avoid dependence solely on Titan. Six vanguard codes were selected to be the first to run on Titan dealing mostly with molecular scale physics or climate models, while 25 others are also queued for use of the machine. Due to the inclusion of GPUs, programmers had to alter their existing code to properly address the new architecture. The modifications often require a greater degree of parallelism as the GPUs can handle many more threads simultaneously than CPUs and the changes often yield greater performance even on CPU-only machines.



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2013

2013

Tianhe-2

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Tianhe-2

National University of Defense Technology/Inspur

In June 2013, Tianhe-2 topped the TOP500 list of fastest supercomputers in the world. The computer beat out second place finisher Titan by nearly a 2-to-1 margin. Titan, which is housed at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, achieved 17.59 petaflops, while Tianhe-2 achieved 33.86 petaflops. Tianhe-2's phenomenal performance returned the title of the world's fastest supercomputer to China after Tianhe-I's debut in November 2010. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers said Tianhe-2's win "symbolizes China's unflinching commitment to the supercomputing arms race". China houses 66 of the top 500 supercomputers, second only to the United States' 252 systems.



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The history of computing is an incredibly interesting subject; for instance, did you know that:


  • One of the first computers was used to calculate artillery firing tables for the US army - turn to slide 3 to find out more!
  • The IBM 701 was the first commercial computer - more on this on slide 10!
  • The CDC 1604 was the first computer to be commercially successful - read more about it on slide 16!
  • The computer mouse wasn't invented until 1963 - see slide 19 to learn all about its origins.
 
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