Timeline of Computer History
 

1952  
Companies
   Heinz Nixdorf founded Nixdorf Computer Corp. in Germany. It remained an independent corporation until merging with Siemens in 1990.
Computers
Los Alamos MANIAC
John von Neumann´s IAS computer became operational at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J. Contract obliged the builders to share their designs with other research institutes. This resulted in a number of clones: the MANIAC at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, the ILLIAC at the University of Illinois, the Johnniac at Rand Corp., the SILLIAC in Australia, and others.
People & Pop Culture
Cronkite with UNIVAC
On election night, November 4, CBS News borrowed a UNIVAC to make a scientific prediction of the outcome of the race for the presidency between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. The opinion polls predicted a landslide in favor of Stevenson, but the UNIVAC´s analysis of early returns showed a clear victory for Eisenhower. Its sharp divergence from public opinion made newscasters Walter Cronkite and Charles Collingwood question the validity of the computer´s forecast, so they postponed announcing UNIVAC´s prediction until very late.
Software & Languages
Grace Hopper with UNIVAC 1
Grace Hopper completes the A-0 Compiler. In 1952, mathematician Grace Hopper completed what is considered to be the first compiler, a program that allows a computer user to use English-like words instead of numbers. Other compilers based on A-0 followed: ARITH-MATIC, MATH-MATIC and FLOW-MATIC [software]
Storage
IBM 726 Dual Tape Drives

Magnetic tape allows for inexpensive mass storage of information and so is a key part of the computer revolution.  The IBM 726 was one of the first practical high-speed magnetic tape systems for electronic digital computers.  Announced on May 21, 1952, the system used a unique ‘vacuum channel’ method of keeping a loop of tape circulating between two points allowing the tape drive to start and stop the tape in a split-second.  The Model 726 was first sold with IBM’s first electronic digital computer the Model 701 and could store 2 million digits per tape—an enormous amount at the time.  It rented for $850 a month.


 


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