Timeline of Computer History
 

1982  
Computers
   The Cray XMP, first produced in this year, almost doubled the operating speed of competing machines with a parallel processing system that ran at 420 million floating-point operations per second, or megaflops. Arranging two Crays to work together on different parts of the same problem achieved the faster speed. Defense and scientific research institutes also heavily used Crays.
Early Publicity still for the Commodore 64
Commodore introduces the Commodore 64. The C64, as it was better known, sold for $595, came with 64KB of RAM and featured impressive graphics. Thousands of software titles were released over the lifespan of the C64. By the time the C64 was discontinued in 1993, it had sold more than 22 million units and is recognized by the 2006 Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest selling single computer model of all time.
People & Pop Culture
   Time magazine altered its annual tradition of naming a "Man of the Year," choosing instead to name the computer its "Machine of the Year." In introducing the theme, Time publisher John A. Meyers wrote, "Several human candidates might have represented 1982, but none symbolized the past year more richly, or will be viewed by history as more significant, than a machine: the computer.

His magazine, he explained, has chronicled the change in public opinion with regard to computers. A senior writer contributed: "computers were once regarded as distant, ominous abstractions, like Big Brother. In 1982, they truly became personalized, brought down to scale, so that people could hold, prod and play with them." At Time, the main writer on the project completed his work on a typewriter, but Meyers noted that the magazine's newsroom would upgrade to word processors within a year.
   The use of computer-generated graphics in movies took a step forward with Disney´s release of "Tron." One of the first movies to use such graphics, the plot of "Tron" also featured computers - it followed the adventures of a hacker split into molecules and transported inside a computer. Computer animation, done by III, Abel, MAGI, and Digital Effects, accounted for about 30 minutes of the film.
Software & Languages
Lotus 1-2-3
Mitch Kapor developed Lotus 1-2-3, writing the software directly into the video system of the IBM PC. By bypassing DOS, it ran much faster than its competitors. Along with the immense popularity of the IBM´s computer, Lotus owed much of its success to its working combination of spreadsheet capabilities with graphics and data retrieval capabilities.

Kapor, who received his bachelor´s degree in an individually designed cybernetics major from Yale University in 1971, started Lotus Development Corp. to market his spreadsheet and served as its president and CEO from 1982 to 1986. He also has worked to develop policies that maximize openness and competitiveness in the computer industry.

 


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