Computing History Timeline

ACMS - Timeline

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  • Adding machine description
    by Schickard. Germany
  • Jacquard loom first used punched cards. France
  • Difference Engines sold by Scheutz. Sweden
  • Mechanical differential analyser invented by Thomson. UK
  • Hollerith Tabulating System processed punched card data. USA
  • Millionaire calculator. Switzerland
  • Vaccuum tube for radio. USA
  • Totalisator - An enormous mechanical calculator linked to 30 ticket
    terminals was installed at the Ellerslie Park racetrack in Auckland, New Zealand.
    This was the world's first automatic totalisator, a system capable of adding
    records of bets made simultaneously on many horses in a race,
    keeping running totals of the bets on every horse and of the total pool of bets,
    and calculating the dividends payable to successful punters. Invented by
    George Julius
  • Differential Analyser - mechanical analog calculator, by Vannevar Bush at MIT. USA
  • "Model K" relay adder built by George Stibitz in his kitchen. USA

  • Atanasoff-Berry computer
    (not completed) at Iowa State. USA
  • Integraph - mechanical analog differential equation solver - by David Myers at Sydney University
  • Z3 - relay computer, by Konrad Zuse. Germany
  • Colossus
    - electronic computer, by Tommy Flowers at Bletchley Park.
    The Colossus machine is a contender for the first computer. It was designed at Bletchley Park
    by Alan Turing and Tommy Flowers to break the WW2 German Lorenz cipher code.
    It was programmed with switches and cables, but it did not have a memory to store the program. UK
  • "First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC" published by John von Neumann at Moore School
    (possibly the first clear description of the modern computer). USA
    - electronic computer, by Eckert and Mauchly at Moore School. USA
  • First computer "bug" - a moth caught in a relay found by Grace Hopper. USA
  • Transistor invented at Bell Labs. USA

  • SSEM (or Baby)
    - valve computer, by Freddie Williams and
    Tom Kilburn at University of Manchester (the first modern computer).  UK
  • CSIR Mk.1 (later CSIRAC) first run of incomplete machine (ie basic instruction set).
    - valve computer, by Maurice Wilkes at Cambridge (the first practical modern computer).
    UK [another link]
  • BINAC - valve computer, by Eckert and Mauchly. USA
  • Core memory invented by Jay Forrester, MIT. USA
  • SEAC - valve computer USA
  • ERA 1101 - parallel valve computer USA
  • Pilot ACE valve computer, a unique design by Turing at NPL UK
  • CSIR Mk.1
    (later CSIRAC) - valve computer, by Pearcey and Beard at
    CSIRO. -
    First computer in the world to play music - at the first Computer Conference held in Australia, March 1951.
  • CSIRAC emulator (WinZIP format)

  • More CSIRAC information
  • Univac 1 - commercial valve computer, by Eckert and Mauchly. USA
  • Ferranti Mark 1 commercial valve computer, based on the SSEM. UK
  • LEO commercial version of EDSAC UK
  • "The preparation of programmes for an electronic digital computer"
    by Wilkes, Wheeler & Gill, the first programming text, Cambridge UK
  • MESM - Russia's official first valve computer,
    by Lebedev at the Institute for Precise Mechanics and Computer Technology. USSR
  • M-1 - Russia's first valve computer, by Brouk at the Power Institute. USSR
  • IAS Computer, ILLIAC - valve computer, by von Neumann etc at IAS. USA
  • NICHOLAS - Elliott Bros' first valve computer. UK
  • ARRA II the Netherlands first valve computer, by Loopstra at
    the Amsterdam Mathematical Centre. Netherlands
  • Whirlwind - valve real-time computer, by Jay Forrester at MIT. USA
  • TREAC parallel valve computer at TRE. UK
  • Manchester transistor computer. UK
  • TRADIC transistor plugboard computer, by Bell Labs. USA
  • MEG with possibly the first floating point arithmetic, at Manchester. UK
  • DEUCE - a commercial version of the Pilot ACE by English Electric. UK
  • SILLIAC - valve computer version of IAS by Brian Swires at Sydney University.
  • UTECOM - valve computer - (English Electric DEUCE) at University of NSW.
  • WREDAC - valve computer - (Elliott 403) at Weapons Research Establishment, SA.

    [Some sources indicate that WREDAC arrived in 1955,
    but took some time to become operational.
    Possible delays may have been associated with the Nickel-Silver delay line memory,
    or the need to connect external instrumentation for real-time type operations.]
  • Librascope LGP-30 - valve computer. USA
  • Bendix G-15 - valve computer (version of DEUCE) USA
  • PEGASUS valve computer by Ferranti. UK
    - Japan's first valve computer, Fuji Photo Film. Japan
  • TX-0 transistor computer at MIT. USA
  • GEORGE language using reverse polish,
    zero address notation for UTECOM, by

    Charles HAMBLIN
    at UNSW
  • Fortran by Jim Backus at IBM USA
  • ADA - transistor differential analyser - by Murray Allen at CSIRO.
  • SNOCOM -
    transistor computer, by David Wong & Murray Allen at CSIRO/Sydney University.
  • ATROPOS a version of TREAC built at WRE, SA.
  • ARCTURUS - transistor computer - by David Wong, etc at Sydney University.
  • IBM 7090 - transistor mainframe. USA
  • DEC PDP-1 - the first minicomputer. It sold for US$120,000.
    It was transistorised and the first commercial computer equipped
    with a keyboard and monitor. USA
  • CIRRUS - transistor computer -
    by Allen, Pearcey etc at Adelaide University.
  • Ferranti Atlas - transistor mainframe (with virtual memory
    and an operating system). UK
  • CSIROnet started by Pearcey at CSIRO
  • ASCII standard
  • Burroughs B5000 zero address computer. USA
  • KDF9 zero address computer (inspired by UNSW GEORGE), by English Electric. UK
  • CDC 6600 - "first supercomputer" ... USA
  • RCA Spectra - first IC computer (IBM 360 copy) USA
  • BASIC programming language invented at Dartmouth College. USA (New Hampshire)
  • ICL 1900 series. UK
  • IBM 360 (announced in 1964) USA
  • Traffic Analyser - analog/digital computer at IHTR / UNSW operational.

    [Ref: ARRB 1968 Conference Paper 433, Keith, RJ and Yan, ST.]
  • IC RAM
  • Data General Nova - first medium scale IC. USA
  • ARPAnet started by DoD USA
  • Unix written at Bell Labs USA
  • DEC PDP-11 USA
  • Intel 4004 - 4 bit microprocessor IC USA
  • HP-35 pocket calculator. USA
  • ILLIAC IV - first multi-processor computer, at University of Illinois (a non von Neumann computer) USA
  • Xerox Alto - first bitmapped graphics, mouse & ethernet. USA
  • Electronics Australia magazine - Aug. 1974:
    Build your own digital computer!

    the EDUC-8 is born as a world first kit in Australia.
  • Intel 8080 - improved 8 bit microprocessor integrated circuit chip. USA
  • MITS Altair 8800 - based on Intel 8080 USA
  • Cray-1 - first vector super computer. USA
  • CP/M operating system by Kildall. USA
  • First "port" of UNIX - to an Interdata machine, University of Wollongong
  • Tandy TRS-80 - based on Intel 8080. USA
  • Commodore PET - based on MOS Technology 6502. USA
  • Apple ][ - based on MOS Technology 6502. USA
  • DEC VAX-11/780 USA
  • Visicalc - first spreadsheet, for Apple ][ USA
  • Bassernet - UNIX local area network at Sydney University
  • Osborne computer - first portable. USA
  • IBM PC - based on Intel 8086 USA
  • Sun workstation USA
  • Tandy TRS-80 Model 100 - first laptop. USA
  • Apple Macintosh USA
  • The Internet connected to Australia through MUNARRI at Melbourne University.

    [ The Australian Universities and the CSIRO, under the umbrella of the Australian
    Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC), initiated a project called the Australian
    Academic and Research Network (AARNet) - this was the genesis of the Internet in Australia.
    DECUS Australia had dial-up access to AARNet soon after.]
  • World Wide Web designed with URLs, HTTP & HTML by Berners-Lee. Europe
  • Microsoft Windows 3.0 USA
  • Intel Pentium processor. USA
  • NCSA Mosaic - the first graphical web browser. USA
  • January, CSIRO - received a patent for its IEEE 802.11a
    and 802.11g WiFi products. Since then, the technology has been adopted
    as an industry standard by most computer makers around the world.

    Sadly, it took until 2009 for the industry and the US Courts to recognise the Australian patent.
  • May, IBM's Deep Blue Supercomputer played a fascinating
    with the reigning World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov.
  • January, Minto - President (JFD) flattened by PDP-8. Sorry, no photo.

    Maybe not quite flattened, but it certainly had him pinned down.

    It must be the Cybernetics revenge starting.