Timeline of Computer History


Amazon Web Services Launches Cloud-Based Services

Amazon Web Services is launched. It introduced a number of web services, including Amazon Elastic Cloud 2 (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3). EC2 allowed users to rent virtual time on the cloud to scale server capacity quickly and efficiently while only paying for what was used. Use of the cloud eliminates the need for a company to maintain a complex computing infrastructure on their own. Additionally, it saved space and hassle in the form of less onsite server room square footage. S3 was a cloud-based file hosting service that charged users monthly for the amount of data stored and for the bandwidth of transferring data. Similar services, like Google Drive, followed suit and created their own proprietary services.


(L to R) Trenchard More, John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Oliver Selfridge, and Ray Solomonoff at AI@50

Fiftieth anniversary of seminal artificial intelligence conference

AI@50, the fiftieth anniversary celebration of Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence, is held on the Dartmouth College campus. Five attendees of the original conference in 1956 were present at the anniversary--John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky, Trenchard More, Oliver Selfridge and Ray Solomonoff. The coining of the term “Artificial Intelligence” was credited to the proposal for the original conference, which is viewed as the founding event of AI.


Nintendo Wii game console

Nintendo Wii comes to market

Nintendo's Wii game system does not merely introduce new games and controllers, but new ways of interacting with game systems. The Wii Remote combined advanced gesture recognition into gaming, using accelerometer and optical sensor technologies to interact with the user. These advances allowed for games to incorporate a wide range of player physical movements. Several games came their own with specialized controllers, including Wii Fit, Wii Tennis and Wii Boxing. The Wii console also allowed access to online services providing games, news, and entertainment offerings. It has sold more than a hundred million units worldwide.


OLPC XO laptop computer

One Laptop Per Child initiative begins

At the 2006 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) announces it will create a program to deliver technology and resources to targeted schools in the least developed countries. The project became the One Laptop per Child Consortium (OLPC) founded by Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of MIT's Media Lab. The first offering to the public required the buyer to purchase one to be given to a child in the developing world as a condition of acquiring a machine for themselves. By 2011, over 2.4 million laptops had been shipped.


Google logo

Verb 'to google' added to dictionaries

First used in a private communiqué by Google co-founder Larry Page, 'googling' entered into the lexicon nearly as quickly as the company became the leader in Internet search. One of the earliest uses in popular culture was by the character Xander in the television program Buffy The Vampire Slayer. In 2006, both the Oxford English and Merriam-Webster dictionaries added 'google' as a new verb defined as "to use the Google search engine to seek online information."


Julian Assange, 2006

WikiLeaks established

Founded by a group of journalists and chartered in Iceland, WikiLeaks serves as clearinghouse for secret information, news leaks, and anonymous material. Documents from various governments, as well as private organizations like The Church of Scientology, can be anonymously posted and distributed using WikiLeaks' uploader. The release of more than two hundred thousand U.S. diplomatic cables beginning in 2010 has made WikiLeaks, and its founder Julian Assange, world famous.


Salesforce.com specializes in cloud computing

“The Cloud”: Computer utilities return

In the 1960s when computers were extremely expensive, a number of companies had offered what were called computer utilities. They would run your programs and store your data on their computer, which you would access with a terminal. As time went on cheaper computers had made it more economical for companies and eventually individuals to maintain their own workstations and PCs. But in the Web era, the economies of scale that evolved from large commercial Web servers had begun to tip the balance back the other way.

Starting in the mid 2000s the computer utility model starts to became fashionable again under the name “The Cloud,” and is once again a major trend in both networking and computing. Amazon's 2006 Elastic Compute Cloud helps popularize the idea. Today, cloud-based companies offer nearly any software or service – including data storage – that could be done on a personal computer or on larger machines run by a company’s IT department.