Timeline of Computer History

The Atanasoff-Berry Computer

The Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) is completed

After successfully demonstrating a proof-of-concept prototype in 1939, Professor John Vincent Atanasoff receives funds to build a full-scale machine at Iowa State College (now University). The machine was designed and built by Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry between 1939 and 1942. The ABC was at the center of a patent dispute related to the invention of the computer, which was resolved in 1973 when it was shown that ENIAC co-designer John Mauchly had seen the ABC shortly after it became functional.

The legal result was a landmark: Atanasoff was declared the originator of several basic computer ideas, but the computer as a concept was declared un-patentable and thus freely open to all. A full-scale working replica of the ABC was completed in 1997, proving that the ABC machine functioned as Atanasoff had claimed. The replica is currently on display at the Computer History Museum.

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OLPC XO laptop computer

One Laptop Per Child initiative begins

Kenneth Iverson, the developer of APL

Kenneth Iverson writes A Programming Language

The Apple Newton Personal Digital Assistant

Apple ships the first Newton

Pseudopod scene from The Abyss

James Cameron's The Abyss is released