The Minnesota Computing History Project


Ready to learn the history of computing in Minnesota?

For most people, Minnesota is not the state that comes to mind when they think about computing. However, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is home to a number of important innovations that have contributed to the development of computer hardware, software, and services. Such achievements have remained hidden, in part, because Minnesota’s early computer companies built much of their business around making classified machines for the U.S. military. Developments that stemmed from such projects, like advances in computer memory, speed, and reliability, moved into the commercial sphere, but the classified nature of their origins has obscured the state’s contributions.

The Minnesota Computing History Project works to uncover the state’s role in the evolution and advancement of computing technologies. Starting with St. Paul-based Engineering Research Associates in the late 1940s, the website explores the innovative companies, exciting personalities, and revolutionary technologies that have shaped the state’s computing scene. It uses interactive timelines, essays, and videos to help reveal the state’s hidden history, relying heavily on archival materials in this process. In so doing, the site also serves as a guide to the many archival collections related to the history of computing that are available to the public in Minnesota and beyond.


Journey through time and learn about important milestones, inventions, and the people who made a lasting mark on computing.


Watch real historical footage, short clips, and documentaries about the history of computing in Minnesota and around the world.


Browse through a collection of images compiled from various computing history archives.


Venture further into the history of computing with our list of resources, including online archives and museums to visit around the globe.


Read essays about computing history, including commentaries on advances in computing technology to spotlights of influential people and companies.

Featured Essay

Gopher Protocol 390 279 Minnesota Computing History

Gopher Protocol

In 1991 a team of programmers at the University of Minnesota created the first popular means of using the internet.…

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