What Happened Today, June 29th

 
Silicon Graphics and MIPS Merge

Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) and MIPS Computer Systems merged in a stock swap valued at $333 million. SGI experienced a number of financial difficulties, leading to industry speculation about the future of the computer graphics software and hardware company that pioneered a number of techniques in widespread use. MIPS, founded by Stanford University Engineering School Dean John Hennessy, developed high-speed computer chips making use of reduced instruction set computing technology, which seeks to improve speed by simplifying the transmission of information within a computer. On April 1, 2009, SGI filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by Rackable Systems a few weeks later.

What Happened This Week

 
Communications Decency Act Declared Unconstitutional

The US Supreme Court ruled the Communications Decency Act unconstitutional on a 7-2 vote. The act, passed by both houses of Congress, sought to control the content of the Internet in an effort to keep pornography from minors. In an opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Supreme Court ruled the act a violation of free speech as guaranteed by the US Constitution.

 
Spyglass Goes Public

World Wide Web software producer Spyglass Inc. went public, the year after it had begun distributing its Spyglass Mosaic software, an early browser for navigating the Web. With previous year's earnings at $7 million, Spyglass was founded by students at the Illinois Supercomputing Center, which also inspired Netscape Communications Corp.

 
Vannevar Bush Dies

Mathematician, scientist and computer pioneer Vannevar Bush died. Bush was born in Everett, Massachusetts, on March 11, 1890. Also deeply involved with wartime computer projects, Bush invented an electromechanical differential analyzer before the war.

 
Silicon Graphics and MIPS Merge

Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) and MIPS Computer Systems merged in a stock swap valued at $333 million. SGI experienced a number of financial difficulties, leading to industry speculation about the future of the computer graphics software and hardware company that pioneered a number of techniques in widespread use. MIPS, founded by Stanford University Engineering School Dean John Hennessy, developed high-speed computer chips making use of reduced instruction set computing technology, which seeks to improve speed by simplifying the transmission of information within a computer. On April 1, 2009, SGI filed for bankruptcy and was acquired by Rackable Systems a few weeks later.

 
"First Draft of Report on EDVAC" Published

"First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC," is published. Brian Randell notes, "It is generally accepted that the first documented discussion ... of the advantages of using just one large internal memory, in which instructions as well as data could be held, was the draft report on EDVAC written by Von Neumann." In 1944, he was appointed a consultant to the EDVAC project. The draft report contains a description of the planned machine and the reasoning behind the various design decisions.

Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
 
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz Born

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz is born in Leipzig. During his 70-year life, Leibniz would make significant contributions to the field of mathematics as well as completing some early computer work in the form of a calculator. Leibniz developed the modern forms of differential and integral calculus.

Leibniz died on November 14, 1716.

IBM 650 Console
IBM 650 Console
 
IBM Announces the Model 650 Computer

IBM announced its 650 series of computers, which were used during the remainder of the decade. The IBM 650 stored information on a rotating magnetic drum and received it on programmed punch cards. Its memory stored numbers with up to 10 decimal digits.