What Happened Today, May 9th

 
New Building for National Center for Atmospheric Research

The National Center for Atmospheric Research -- a pioneer in investigating weather patterns and other atmospheric phenomena using computers and other technology -- dedicated its new building in Boulder, Colorado. The building stemmed from a $100,000 grant from the Max C. Fleishmann Foundation and was designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei.

What Happened This Week

 
New Building for National Center for Atmospheric Research

The National Center for Atmospheric Research -- a pioneer in investigating weather patterns and other atmospheric phenomena using computers and other technology -- dedicated its new building in Boulder, Colorado. The building stemmed from a $100,000 grant from the Max C. Fleishmann Foundation and was designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei.

 
Texas Instruments Introduces New Transistor

A silicon-based junction transistor, perfected by Gordon Teal of Texas Instruments Inc., brought the price of this component down to $2.50. A Texas Instruments news release from May 10, 1954, read, "Electronic ‘brains’ approaching the human brain in scope and reliability came much closer to reality today with the announcement by Texas Instruments Incorporated of the first commercial production of silicon transistors kernel-sized substitutes for vacuum tubes."

 
"VisiCalc" Given First Public Demonstration.

Harvard MBA candidate Daniel Bricklin and programmer Robert Frankston gave the first demonstration of VisiCalc, the program that made a business machine of the personal computer, for the Apple II. VisiCalc (for visible calculator) automated the recalculation of spreadsheets. A huge success, more than 100,000 copies were sold in the first year.

 
IBM's Deep Blue Beats World's Best Chess Player

Garry Kasparov beat IBM's Deep Blue in the first match of what many considered a test of artificial intelligence. The world's best chess player, Kasparov eventually lost the match and $1.1 million purse to the IBM supercomputer, which he had claimed could never surpass human chess ability. After losing the sixth and final game of the match, Kasparov accused IBM of building a machine specifically to beat him. Observers said he was frustrated by Deep Blue's quickness although they expected him to win with unconventional moves.

This reconstruction of Z3 was made by Zuse KG, Bad Hersfeld for the 1964 Interdata Industry Fair
This reconstruction of Z3 was made by Zuse KG, Bad Hersfeld for the 1964 Interdata Industry Fair
 
Zuse Completes Z3 Machine

Konrad Zuse completes his Z3 computer, the first program-controlled electromechanical digital computer. It followed in the footsteps of the Z1 - the world’s first binary digital computer - which Zuse had developed in 1938. Much of Zuse’s work was destroyed in World War II, although the Z4, the most sophisticated of his creations, survives.

 
First Appropriation for Harvard Mark I

The first appropriation was made to the construction of the Harvard Mark I, eventually completed in 1944. The Mark I was the first successful fully automatic machine and computed three additions or subtractions a second; its memory stored 72 numbers of 23 digits (plus sign).

 
Network General Corporation Founded

Len Shustek and Harry Saal found Network General Corp., which was a major provider of management solutions for computer networks until its merger with McAfee Associates in 1997 to form Network Associates. Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, the company's first product was "The Sniffer," a diagnostic tool for analyzing communications protocol problems in Local Area Networks.

 
Texas Instruments Announces Its Own 486 Microprocessor Chip

Texas Instruments announced it would begin selling an advanced microprocessor to compete with Intel's 486 chip. Also called the 486, the chip was designed by the Texas company Cyrix Corp. Texas Instruments' move was not successful in weakening Intel's dominance of the microprocessor industry.

Welcome screen after PlayStation Network restoration
Welcome screen after PlayStation Network restoration
 
Sony Begins Restoration of Its PlayStation Network after Cyber Attack

After a malicious cyber attack compromises Sony Computer Entertainment's data center in San Diego, California, the PlayStation Network is shut down on April 20. The ensuing investigation revealed a number of security flaws, and in tandem with outside security firms, Sony implemented a number of upgrades to deter and mitigate future attacks to its network and its customers’ personal information. The Americas, Oceania, Europe and the Middle East were the first regions to regain access to the PlayStation Network, and among other measures, customers were required to reset their passwords upon initially signing in. As more and more personal information is posted online, whether for financial, social, or business transactions, the safekeeping and protection of this data has come to the forefront of Internet consumer concerns.

Ivan Sutherland using Sketchpad on the MIT TX-2 computer system.
Ivan Sutherland using Sketchpad on the MIT TX-2 computer system.
 
Birthday of Ivan Sutherland, Inventor and Developer of Interactive Computer Graphics

Ivan Sutherland was the inventor and developer of MIT’s Sketchpad, which launched the interactive computer graphics field. Sketchpad’s many innovations included a display file for screen refresh, a recursively traversed hierarchical structure for modeling graphical objects, recursive methods for geometric transformations, and an object-oriented programming style. In 1968 he co-founded Evans and Sutherland Computer Corporation and was vice president and chief scientist. He also served as chairman of the computer science department at Caltech from 1976 to 1980. In 1980, he left Caltech to establish consulting firm Sutherland, Sproull and Associates. He also founded Advanced Technology Ventures, a venture capital firm.