1997 IEEE Conference on the History of Computing

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1997 IEEE Conference on the History of Computing

A technology that is as important as the computer instantly raises questions in the minds of the curious: Where did it come from? What can it do? How have people interacted with it over the years? Historians and computer professionals have tackled some of these questions, but the impact of the computer on society has been so multifaceted that it has been hard for any single author to address all of the issues in any one place. The history of computing is being told in pieces.

In an effort to put those pieces together, the IEEE History Center, with project support from the IEEE Foundation, organized a conference on the history of computing in 1997. Attended by about 40 people, it was held at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia from Friday 13 June through Sunday 15 June. A series of 14 invited lectures provided an overview of the development of computing and an introduction to the literature and methodologies of computer history. In addition, there were nine papers presenting current research and a panel discussion on making history interesting.

A Book, From 0 to 1: An Authoritative History of Modem Computing resulted from this conference. It offers a scholarly and up-to-date introduction to the history and development of the modern computer. The book offers detailed coverage of such topics as personal computer software, user interfaces, and the rise of the Internet. By integrating the technical, business, and policy aspects of computing history, the authors explain how and why computers were created and how they were shaped by the intent of their creators and, later, by the needs of their users. The chapter authors are experts in their fields, and are recognized for their contributions to the history of computing.