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Computing heritage

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December 9th turns out to be an auspicious date for computing mothers.   It's not just the birthday of Grace Hopper -- nicknamed "mother of COBOL" (although to be strictly accurate it was Flowmatic) who gets a long overdue Doodle... it's also the anniversary of the "mother of all demos" by Douglas Engelbart. 
In the 50s Hopper invented key software technologies that paved the way for today's computer languages
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I love this story: a group of Austrian students built mainland Europe's first fully transistorised computer ... using transistors designed for hearing aids :)
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Amazing story and video. The 'cheeky grin' that Heinz Zemanek gives when he describes how he just took over the project is priceless.
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Another surprising discovery.. the first woman to get a PhD in the US in computer science was a catholic nun.  Seriously.  Sister Mary Kenneth Keller got hers in 1965.  Dartmouth College broke their 'men only' rule for access to the computer centre so she could study there!  http://firstcomputersciencephd.blogspot.co.uk/
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I'm researching stories of women in computing and just came across this 1999 article: "When Computers Were Women" relating to the ENIAC programmers.  It's a little academic-ey in tone but there's some great detail 
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Very chuffed with this article, especially when I read Vint's comment about being "absolutely astonished".  Hopefully it will help the films reach a wider audience.  If you haven't already seen, do have a watch, there's links to them all in the article
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Fabulous and entertaining talk, giving a rapid overview of how so many of the concepts in software and computing generally are many decades old.  
 
Everything new and exciting is actually old, says John Graham-Cumming. "New" ideas today are "repeats" of old ideas.

Cloud computing - 1966
Big data - 1955
Virtual machine - 1967
Hypertext with clickable links - 1967
Markup languages - 1969
Fiber optic networking - 1966
Wi-fi - 1971
Ethernet - 1973
Solid state disks - 1976
Instruction pipelining, prefetching and branch prediction - 1961
Chat/file transfer/email - 1971
The graphical user interface (GUI) - 1981
The internet (TCP/IP) - 1983
Functional programming - 1958
Object oriented programming - 1967
Concurrent programming - 1978
Event driven programming - 1966

You don't have to invent anything. We've got Djikstra's Algorithm. He then goes on to say that software reliability is the last unsolved problem.

The first bug - Ada Lovelace - 1840s
The term "bug" -  Grace Murray Hopper - 1947

But today we have test-driven development.
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Sorry for radio silence, I have sadly been tied up on non computing history stuff :(   However... others have continued in my absence. Not least in Poland where they've done a whole project around Polish computing pioneers with a timeline and posters and even lesson plans t encourage teachers to highlight the local heroes to their students
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It's always great to spend time at Bletchley Park but last Saturdaywas special -- I got to meet some of the early pioneers and also we launched a brilliant new gallery at +The National Museum of Computing  It was a mammoth effort to get done in time and I know they worked into the wee hours on it, but it was SO worth it.  Thanks everyone who pitched in and helped :)
Last Saturday saw a special gathering at Bletchley Park to showcase the contributions of women to computing. We were joined in person by some of the UK's female pioneers—including Margaret Bullen who did the wiring and soldering for Colossus, the world's first electronic computer; Sophie Wilson ...
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I recently had the privilege to meet Dame Stephanie Shirley, in the process of making this film.  She's one of the most inspiring people I've ever encountered.  This film focuses on just one part of her story -- what she did afterwards beyond computing is just as amazing.  Her biography "Let IT go" is a brilliant read, if you want to find out more. 
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Amazing Story ... 
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One of the projects I'm working on at the moment is researching the roles of women in the early days of computing.  The more I dig, the more I'm finding there's a surprising number.  For example, here's a great profile of Margaret Butler who worked at Argonne National Laboratory
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Here's another talk by John Graham-Cumming from a TED event last year that I just stumbled across.  It gives a great roundup of the contributions of Babbage, Lovelace and even touches on Turing, in a very down to earth non-techie way
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There's a great series on Radio4 at the moment about the history of the office.  There's an article about it on BBC News today that focuses on LEO... "to go from cupcakes to computers was one of the most unlikely diversifications in British history"
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I recommend reading A Computer Called LEO by Georgina Ferry as well.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009FUF6MS
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Have them in circles
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Story
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remembering the early days of computing and the Internet
Introduction
Computers are part of everyday life now.  But it wasn't that long ago that things were very different.  This page is set up to share stories from the early days of computing and the Internet.  

This page is managed by Lynette Webb. Although I work at Google, this is my personal project and any views expressed are my own (yada yada usual disclaimer).