Select essays on computing history.

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. They called it “Gopher:” a nod to both the slang “go-fer,” meaning to fetch something, and the Golden Gopher mascot. Gopher’s client-server protocol allowed users to explore and view online content: a “web browser” before the “web.” It became the…

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CDC 1604-A
Control Data Corporation 600 449 Minnesota Computing History

Control Data Corporation

In the early 1950s the company Remington Rand, best known for producing typewriters, decided to enter the computer industry. They did so by acquiring Pennsylvania-based Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC) in 1950 and Minnesota-based Engineering Research Associates (ERA) in 1952. In 1955 Remington Rand merged with Sperry Corporation to form the Sperry Rand Corporation. Their resulting computer division, of which EMCC…

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Dwight D. Eisenhower 1952 Presidential election prediction
IBM in the Computer Era 600 460 Minnesota Computing History

IBM in the Computer Era

IBM, a company founded as C-T-R in 1911 and renamed International Business Machines in 1924, built upon its long established success in punch card tabulation machines, to creatively destroy this technology by entering the computer business in the early 1950s. In essence, IBM steadily cannibalized the existing data processing technology it had led in for decades for a far more…

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punched card example
C-T-R, IBM, and Information Processing before Computers 600 274 Minnesota Computing History

C-T-R, IBM, and Information Processing before Computers

The late nineteenth and the early twentieth century saw rapid and influential technological change that justifiably resulted in such names for this period as the electrical age, the automobile age, and the flight age. Largely behind the scenes, this period was also the advent of rapid advances in mechanized data/information processing – the prehistory, if not the early history of, the…

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The Oregon Trail Computer Game 1600 600 Minnesota Computing History

The Oregon Trail Computer Game

In 1971 three students at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota came up with the idea to do something new with computers. Don Rawitsch, Paul Dillenberger, and Bill Heinemann were studying education and about to start work as student teachers. Rawitsch was tasked with 8th grade American history and wanted to make something more interesting and engaging than the usual lecture…

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Read on to discover more about the development of computing in and outside of Minnesota.