What Happened Today, June 17th

 
Hackers Decipher Data Encryption Standard
Hackers deciphered computer code written in the Data Encryption Standard, which had been designed to be an impenetrable encryption software. A group of users organized over the Internet cracked the software -- the strongest legally exportable encryption software in the United States -- after five months of work. The United States bans stronger encryption software out of fear that it would be used by terrorists, but companies designing the software say such restrictions are worthless because foreign countries offer much stronger programs.

What Happened This Week

 
Control-Tabulating-Recording Company is Founded.
Financier Charles Flint built trusts by merging several smaller companies to form dominant company in particular fields. He had already formed International Time Recording Company that was the major player in factory time clocks and Computing Scale Company of America for scales. He then bought out Herman Hollerith, the founder of Hollerith Tabulating Machine Company, and merged the three companies into Control-Tabulating-Recording Company, or C-T-R. The new company continued to produce all teh goods the individual companies had specilized in, but eventually focused on the unit record equipment that Hollerith's company had made. In the 1920s, C-T-R would rename itself IBM.
 
Hackers Decipher Data Encryption Standard
Hackers deciphered computer code written in the Data Encryption Standard, which had been designed to be an impenetrable encryption software. A group of users organized over the Internet cracked the software -- the strongest legally exportable encryption software in the United States -- after five months of work. The United States bans stronger encryption software out of fear that it would be used by terrorists, but companies designing the software say such restrictions are worthless because foreign countries offer much stronger programs.
 
High School Senior Wins Computer Science Contest with Traffic Flow Program
The Los Angeles Times reported on high school senior Kevin Chang, who won an area computer science contest with a program to improve traffic flow by automatically controlling acceleration and braking. Chang's program utilized an infrared sensor that monitored the distance between a car and other objects and told the car whether to speed up or slow down.
 
Blaise Pascal is Born.
Mathematician Blaise Pascal was born in France. Before he died at age 39, Pascal produced several important theorems and treatises on geometry, physics, theology, and other subjects. His most significant contribution to computing came with the invention of the Pascaline, a digital calculator that he designed to help his father in his tax-collecting work.
 
NBS Dedicates SEAC Machine
The National Bureau of Standards dedicated the SEAC (Standards Eastern Automatic Computer) in Washington as a laboratory for testing components and systems for setting computer standards. The SEAC was the first computer to use all-diode logic, a technology more reliable than vacuum tubes, and was the first stored-program computer completed in the United States. Magnetic tape in the external storage units stored programming information, coded subroutines, numerical data, and output.
 
IBM Retires Last "STRETCH" Supercomputer
IBM retired its last "STRETCH" mainframe, part of the 7000 series that represented the company's first transistorized computers. At the top of the line of computers -- all of which emerged significantly faster and more dependable than vacuum tube machines -- sat the 7030, or STRETCH. Seven of the computers, which featured a 64-bit word architecture and other innovations, were sold to national laboratories and other scientific users. L. R. Johnson first used the term "architecture" in describing the STRETCH.
 
Konrad Zuse Born
Konrad Zuse was born in Germany. An early computer pioneer, Zuse in the 1940s began work on Plankalkul (plan Calculus), the first algorithmic programming language. Seven years earlier, Zuse developed and built the world's first binary digital computing device, the Z1. He completed the first fully functional program-controlled (by a punched paper tape) electromechanical digital computer, the Z3, in 1941. Only the Z4 -- the most sophisticated of his creations -- survived World War II.