Tech Timeline: A Brief History of the Information Technology Industry

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When did computer science become an industry that would change history? Was it was Alan Turing and his Turing Machine during World War II? Was it with the establishment of The International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) which made computers essential for industry? While we think of the domination of IBM starting around the 1980s the history of the company goes back as far as 1911. As an IT professional, how much do you know about the history of your chosen field? Let’s take a look at a brief high level timeline.

1911: The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company began after a merger of the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, and the Computing Scale Company. In 1924 the company changes its name to International Business Machines.

1940: Harvard university creates the first large scale digital computer called Mark 1. It was programmed using punch cards.

1945: The first discussion of computer architecture and stored programming is published by John Von Neumann called “First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC.”

1971: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak meet and eventually collaborate on what would become Apple computers.

1973: The Ethernet is born from a memo written by Xerox researcher Bob Metcalfe.

1975: Bill Gates contacts Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) about their Altair 8800 computer. He says he has created a system called BASIC for it. The company agrees to see him but he had not created any such thing yet. BASIC becomes very popular and Microsoft is born.

1989: Tim Berners-Lee writes and releases a proposal on information management with a complete outline for the concept of a global hypertext system.

1993: The World Wide Web is made available free of charge.

1997: Deep Blue, a smart computer designed by IBM to play chess, beats chess master Gary Kasperov. This led to the creation of Watson, another smart computer, which then competed on Jeopardy.

The 2000s saw the birth of smart devices that allowed everyone to have access to information from their fingertips. This, once again, changed the trajectory of information technology and computer development.

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