Timeline of Computer History
 

1943  
Computers
Whirlwind installation at MIT

Project Whirlwind begins. During World War II, the U.S. Navy approached the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) about building a flight simulator to train bomber crews. The team first built a large analog computer, but found it inaccurate and inflexible. After designers saw a demonstration of the ENIAC computer, they decided on building a digital computer. By the time the Whirlwind was completed in 1951, the Navy had lost interest in the project, though the U.S. Air Force would eventually support the project which would influence the design of the SAGE program.

George Stibitz circa 1940
The Relay Interpolator is completed. The U.S. Army asked Bell Labs to design a machine to assist in testing its M-9 Gun Director. Bell Labs mathematician George Stibitz recommended using a relay-based calculator for the project. The result was the Relay Interpolator, later called the Bell Labs Model II. The Relay Interpolator used 440 relays and since it was programmable by paper tape, it was used for other applications following the war.

 


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