What Happened Today, February 7th

 
Doug Ross Presents Gestalt Programming

Doug Ross presents a paper on gestalt programming at the Western Joint Computer Conference in Los Angeles. Ross had experimented with the programming while working for the Air Force and Emerson Electric Co.

What Happened This Week

John Mauchly
John Mauchly
 
Mauchly Unveils His Rule for Success

John Mauchly sends a letter to his partner, J. Presper Eckert, complaining that little progress had been made in ensuring that their new company—Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corp.—would be successful. The two computing pioneers had founded the company a few months earlier. Mauchly wrote: "The more I think about the situation in which we find ourselves at present, the more I am convinced that we are losing a hell of a lot of valuable time [because] we are slow in making necessary decisions."

Flying wire type integrated circuit
Flying wire type integrated circuit
 
Kilby Files Patent for Integrated Circuit

Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments files a patent application called "miniaturized electronic circuits" for his work on a multi-transistor device. The patent was only one of 60 that Kilby holds. While Kilby has the earliest patent on the "integrated circuit," it was Robert Noyce, later co-founder of Intel, whose parallel work resulted in a practical device. Kilby's device had several transistors connected by flying wires while Noyce devised the idea of interconnection via a layer of metal conductors. Noyce also adapted Jean Hoerni's planar technique for making transistors to the manufacture of more complex circuits.

 
Doug Ross Presents Gestalt Programming

Doug Ross presents a paper on gestalt programming at the Western Joint Computer Conference in Los Angeles. Ross had experimented with the programming while working for the Air Force and Emerson Electric Co.

The Harvard Mark I
The Harvard Mark I
 
A Patent is Filed for the Harvard Mark I

C.D Lake, H.H. Aiken, F.E. Hamilton, and B.M. Durfee file a calculator patent for the Automatic Sequence Control Calculator, commonly known as the Harvard Mark I. The Mark I was a large automatic digital computer that could perform the four basic arithmetic functions and handle 23 decimal places. A multiplication took about five seconds.

 
David Wheeler, the Inventor of the "Wheeler Jump", Born

David Wheeler, who in 1951 introduced the concept of the subroutine to computer programming, is born. He concentrated his work on assembly programming language and invoked the subroutine in his "Wheeler jump" technique. For this work Wheeler received the IEEE Computer Society Pioneer Award.

 
Deep Blue Defeats Kasparov

In the first game of a six game match, IBM's Deep Blue chess computer defeated world champion Garry Kasparov. No computer had ever won a game against a world champion in chess. Kasparov would eventually win the series 4-2, but would lose to Deep Blue in a re-match a year later.

 
Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Aims IBM to Create the SSEC.

Enjoying a change of climate in Florida, IBM's Thomas Watson, Sr. sends a directive to IBM headquarters to begin planning "a machine of the same type as the Harvard Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC) to meet the requirements of the ordinary businesses we serve." The resulting machine, the Selective Sequence Controlled Calculator (SSEC) was completed on January 27, 1948, and contained 21,400 relays and 12,500 vacuum tubes.

JOSS' developer Cliff Shaw
JOSS' developer Cliff Shaw
 
The RAND Coporation Takes JOSS out of Service

The RAND Corporation takes the Johnniac Open Shop System (JOSS) out of service. JOSS was a conversational time-sharing service that eased the bottleneck experienced by programmers in the batch environment--typical of the time--in which long delays existed between sending information to the computer and getting results back. Timesharing aimed to bring the user back into contact with the machine for online debugging and program development.