Timeline of Computer History


Grand Theft Auto screenshot

Grand Theft Auto is released

Created by David Jones and Mike Dailly, Grand Theft Auto is set in Liberty City, a fictional American metropolis designed after New York City. The game used a free-form structure, allowing players to do anything they wanted in the city, but also rewarding players with points for creating havoc such as running down pedestrians and completing missions. Subsequent Grand Theft Auto releases featured increased amounts of sex, drugs, and violence, leading to calls for its outright banning. The game was a huge success and was ported to many different systems.


ASCI Red supercomputers

ASCI Red is operational

The Advanced Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) needed a supercomputer to help with the maintenance of the US nuclear arsenal following the ban on underground nuclear testing. The ASCI Red, based on the design of the Intel Paragon, was built by IBM and delivered to Sandia National Laboratories. Until the year 2000, it was the world's fastest supercomputer, able to achieve peak performance of 1.3 teraflops, (about 1.3 trillion calculations per second).


Sony 700 MB CD-RW disc

Compact Disc-ReWritable (CD-RW)

The Compact Disc-ReWritable (CD-RW) is introduced. This optical disc was used for data storage and in the backing up and transferring of files to various devices. It was less robust than some contemporary storage media, and could only be re-written roughly 1,000 times. However, this factor seldom encumbered users who rarely overwrote data that often on one disc. CD-RWs that were created on CD-RW drives were often unable to be read on CD-ROM drives. DVDs overtook much of the market share from CD-RWs.


First meeting between Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue

Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov

With the ability to evaluate 200 million positions per second, IBM’s Deep Blue chess computer defeats the current world chess champion, Garry Kasparov on May 11. Of the six matches played, Deep Blue won two, Kasparov won one and the other three matches ended in a draw. The games took place over several days and were played in a television studio with a sold out audience of 600 watching each match on television screens in a theater several floors below. These matches were considered a rematch, as Kasparov had defeated an earlier version of Deep Blue in 1996.


Garry Kasparov contemplating move against Deep Blue

IBM’s Deep Blue defeats world chess champion Garry Kasparov

Creating a world champion level chess program had been a goal of artificial intelligence researchers since the 1950s. In the second meeting between world champion Garry Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue chess supercomputer, a machine beats a standing world champion in a regular timed series. In losing two games to one, with three draws, Kasparov saw "superior intelligence" in Deep Blue's play, leading to accusations of human interference. IBM retired Deep Blue following the match and a portion of the system is now on display at the Computer History Museum.


Visual Studio startup screen

Microsoft introduces Visual Studio

Microsoft introduces Visual Studio. Bundled within Visual Studio were a number of programming tools, as Microsoft’s intent was to create a single environment where developers could use different programming languages. The idea of visual programming is to allow programmers to develop software using built-in visual elements (like in a block diagram) instead of text.