History of the Computer Part 1 - The early years

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1944 Harvard Mark I


The IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC), called the Mark I by Harvard University,[1] was the first large-scale automatic digital computer in the USA.

1948 Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator


The IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC), also called Poppa, was an electromechanical computer built by IBM, finished in January 1948.

1951 MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Whirlwind


The Whirlwind computer was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It is the first computer that operated in real time, used video displays for output, and the first that was not simply an electronic replacement of older mechanical systems. Its development led directly to the United States Air Force's Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, and indirectly to almost all business computers and minicomputers in the 1960s.

1953 MIT TX0


The TX-0, for Transistorized Experimental computer zero but affectionately referred to as tixo (pronounced "tix oh"), was an early fully transistorized computer and contained a then-huge 64K of 18-bit words of core memory. TX-0 went online in 1956 and was used continually into the 1960s.

1954 IBM 701


The IBM 701, known as the Defense Calculator while in development, was announced to the public on April 29, 1952, and was IBM’s first commercial scientific computer[1]. Its business computer siblings were the IBM 702 and IBM 650.

1961 DEC PDP-1


The PDP-1 (Programmed Data Processor-1) was the first computer in Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP series and was first produced in 1960. It is famous for being the computer most important in the creation of hacker culture, at MIT, BBN and elsewhere. The PDP-1 was also the original hardware for playing history's first computerized video game, Steve Russell's Spacewar!.


Steve Russell's Spacewar!

1965 DEC PDP-8


The 12-bit PDP-8 was the first successful commercial minicomputer, produced by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in the 1960s. DEC introduced it on 22 March 1965, and sold more than 50,000 systems, the most of any computer up to that date. It was the first widely sold computer in the DEC PDP series of computers (the PDP-5 was not originally intended to be a general-purpose computer).

Continue to History of the Computer Part 2: 1970-1980 >>