What Happened Today, December 17th

Ken Iverson
Ken Iverson
 
APL Co-Inventor Iverson Born
Kenneth E. Iverson is born in Camrose, Alberta, Canada. He received a BA in mathematics from Queen’s University in Ontario, and an MA and PhD in applied mathematics from Harvard. Iverson taught at Harvard and worked for IBM and IP Sharp Associates. With Adin D. Falkoff, he developed A Programming Language (APL). It was a triumphant start to his career, and for over 35 following years Iverson was able to transform his invention into a successful commercial enterprise. He received the AFIPS Harry Goode Award in 1975, ACM Turing Award in 1979, IEEE Computer Pioneer Award in 1982, and the National Medal of Technology in 1991.

What Happened This Week

Ken Iverson
Ken Iverson
 
APL Co-Inventor Iverson Born
Kenneth E. Iverson is born in Camrose, Alberta, Canada. He received a BA in mathematics from Queen’s University in Ontario, and an MA and PhD in applied mathematics from Harvard. Iverson taught at Harvard and worked for IBM and IP Sharp Associates. With Adin D. Falkoff, he developed A Programming Language (APL). It was a triumphant start to his career, and for over 35 following years Iverson was able to transform his invention into a successful commercial enterprise. He received the AFIPS Harry Goode Award in 1975, ACM Turing Award in 1979, IEEE Computer Pioneer Award in 1982, and the National Medal of Technology in 1991.
 
IBM and Siemens AG Announce 64M DRAM Chip Prototype
IBM and Siemens AG announce they have developed a prototype 64 megabyte DRAM chip. This development was in line with Moore’s Law which predicts a doubling of the number of transistors etched into silicon every 18 months.
Adin D. Falkoff
Adin D. Falkoff
 
APL Co-Inventor Falkoff Born
Adin D. Falkoff is born in New Jersey. He received a BChE in chemical engineering from the City College of New York in 1941 and MA in mathematics from Yale in 1963. He started working for IBM in 1955. With Kenneth E. Iverson, Falkoff developed A Programming Language (APL). Iverson credited him for choosing the name APL and the introduction of the IBM golf-ball typewriter with the replacement typehead, which provided the famous character set to represent programs. Falkoff received IBM’s Outstanding Contribution Award for the development of APL and APL/360, and ACM’s Award for "outstanding contribution to the development and application of APL."
Norman Bel Geddes
Norman Bel Geddes
 
Norman Bel Geddes Designs ASSC Machine Cover
Thomas Watson, Jr. informs Harvard University President James B. Conant that Norman Bel Geddes would be designing the cover of the Harvard Mark I computer. Bel Geddes was an American industrial designer who also worked on such things as Philco radio cabinets and a Graham Page car. He was deeply interested in the future, illustrating a book in 1932 that described, among other things, a huge passenger airplane with public lounges and an exercise center. Bel Geddes also designed the GM pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair.
Douglas T. Ross
Douglas T. Ross
 
APT and AED Developer Doug Ross Born
Douglas T. Ross is born in Canton, China. He received an AB from Oberlin College in 1951 and an SM from MIT in 1954. He worked with John Ward on the Cape Cod Air Defense System Project, held many positions at MIT, including head of the Computer Applications Group at the Electronic System Laboratory, and was project engineer for the MIT Computer-Aided Design project. He developed APT (Automatically Programmed Tools)--now an international standard--and AED (Automated Engineering Design) projects which were early precursors of the languages and systems of modern CAD and CAM systems. These projects were run in close connection with the Whirlwind, TX-0, TX-2, Project MAC, and CTSS.
Apollo Guidance Computer DSKY prototype
Apollo Guidance Computer DSKY prototype
 
Integrated Circuits Used in Moonshot
The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was responsible for guidance, navigation, and control computations in the Apollo space program. The AGC was the first computer to use integrated circuit logic and occupied less than 1 cubic foot of the spacecraft. It stored data in 15 bit words (with one parity bit) and had a memory cycle time of 11.7 microseconds. Astronauts communicated with the AGC using the "DSKY" (Display Keyboard). It used digital displays and communicated with astronauts using verb and noun buttons, and a two-digit operation and operand code.

The AGC and DSKY form part of The Computer History Museum permanent collection.

The FINAC
The FINAC
 
The FINAC, the Italian Mark I*, Is Inaugurated
The FINAC, the Italian Mark I*, is inaugurated in Rome. The Mark I*, the commercial prototype of Manchester's Mark I, was built by English Ferranti Ltd., for UNESCO's International Computational Center in Rome.
The point-contact transistor
The point-contact transistor
 
Bardeen and Brattain Demonstrate the Transistor to Bell Labs Supervisors
John Bardeen and Walter Brattain demonstrate the point-contact transistor, made from strips of gold foil on a plastic triangle, pushed down into contact with a slab of germanium. To measure the amplification they hooked up a microphone to one end of the device and a loudspeaker to the other. One by one, the men picked up the microphone and whispered, “Hello.” The loudspeaker at the other end of the circuit shouted, “HELLO!”. Although William Shockley had played a smaller role in the invention of the point-contact transistor, he was inspired by its promise, and devoted his time and efforts for more than a month to improving upon the device. By early 1948 he had devised the junction transistor, a device that shaped the design of nearly all transistors to follow.
Java logo
Java logo
 
Microsoft Vows to Appeal Decision after Sun Microsystems Wins a Major Antitrust Victory
Sun Microsystems wins a major antitrust victory against Microsoft when a federal judge ordered Microsoft to distribute Sun's Java programming language in its Microsoft Windows operating system. Another provision of the decision required that Microsoft cease the shipment of a version of Java that Sun contended was outdated and could discourage programmers from using it for software development. The court case was one of many that Microsoft had contended with in the face of anti-trust allegations by both corporate competitors and federal and state government agencies.