October 1996

Root Page of Article: Coming Out of the Closedt World, by John Horberg

Character Sketches

Edwards' research results in interesting character sketches of a number of famous folks:
  • Vannevar Bush1s work for the government during and after World War II;
  • Air Force commander Billy Mitchell (eventually court-martialed);
  • Robert Oppenheimer;
  • JFK's Defense Secretary Robert McNamara;
  • Allen Newell and Herbert Simon;
  • John von Neumann;
  • Claude Shannon;
  • George Miller;
  • J.C.R. Lidlicker.

Edwards also includes very interesting background material on the circumstances and people surrounding the development of the first mainframe computers: ENIAC, the SAGE computerized air defense system, the MARK III, and the UNIVAC. He also gives a good overview of the technological progression of computers from programming by punch cards and tapes, through mainframe timesharing and menu interfaces, onward to sixth generation virtual reality computing systems.

Part of this history includes the battle among technologists and academics over ^analog vs. digital computers. ^

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