Timeline of Computer History

Star Trek title screen

Star Trek debuts with multiple computation devices

One of the most popular television series of all-time, Star Trek tells of the journeys of the starship Enterprise and its 5-year mission of exploration. Star Trek speculated on technologies such as voice-recognition, handheld computing and communications, human computer interaction, and machine-supported medical diagnosis. The technologies displayed influenced generations of filmmakers, writers, and especially technologists--some of whom are still working today to create technologies featured on the show.

IBM 1360 Photo-Digital Storage System

IBM 1360 Photo-Digital Storage System

The IBM 1360 Photo-Digital Storage System is installed at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The system could read and write up to a trillion bits of information—the first such system in the world. The 1360 used thin strips of film on which were written data created by an electron beam and a wet photographic development process. The system used sophisticated error correction and a pneumatic robot to move the film strips to and from a storage unit. Only five were built.

Seymour Papert with LOGO 'turtle'

Seymour Papert designs LOGO

Seymour Papert designs LOGO as a computer language for children. Initially a drawing program, LOGO controlled the actions of a mechanical "turtle," which traced its path with pen on paper. Electronic turtles made their designs on a video display monitor.

Papert emphasized creative exploration over memorization of facts: "People give lip service to learning to learn, but if you look at curriculum in schools, most of it is about dates, fractions, and science facts; very little of it is about learning. I like to think of learning as an expertise that every one of us can acquire."

The Colossus at work at Bletchley Park

First Colossus operational at Bletchley Park

The Matrix movie poster

The Matrix released

SRI’s Shakey

Shakey the robot

Brendan Eich

JavaScript is developed

Bram Cohen

BitTorrent is launched