Learning Who Really Invented the Computer?

Last month's Wired magazine contained a story and interview with novelist Jane Smiley, whose recent book, The Man Who Invented the Computer, purports to finally reveal the true author of that device. Hint: The answer rhymes with Batanasoff. I have not had a chance to read the book, but based on the interview Smiley, an alumna of and former professor at John Atansoff's own Iowa State, appears to portray him as a wronged genius, exploited by a devious John Mauchly.

More Blog Activity Forthcoming

Dear SIGCISers,

I've recently taken up the vacant position of Member Communications for SIGCIS. Expect this blog to be more frequently updated with information and commentary that is (hopefully) of interest to this community. Marie Hicks has also agreed to help me with this task from time to time (thank you!).

2010 Workshop: Edwards Keynote Abstract

Friction: Rethinking Speed, Power, and Possibility in the History of Information Infrastructures

Tropes involving computers' "speed" and "power" have dominated discourses about computing from the earliest days of electronic machines. Metaphors of friction may provide a different lens, one that focuses attention on the materiality of information processing. Machines transform energy into work; friction reduces the amount of work they can do with a given input. Information systems transform data (among other things) into information and knowledge. Computational friction opposes this transformation; it expresses the resistance that must always be overcome, the sociotechnical struggle with numbers that always precedes reward.

R|evolution: The First 2,000 Years of Computer History

Dear friends,

CHM is completing construction of its signature 25,000 sq ft, $17 million dollar on the history of computing. Due to open in January 2011, R|evolution will be accessible to the general public and technical audiences alike and will feature over 1,000 artifacts from CHM's world-beating historical collection.

See: http://www.computerhistory.org/exhibits/revolution/ for more information.

SIGCIS 2010 Workshop

SIGCIS 2010 Workshop:

Materiality & Immateriality in the History of Computing

Sunday October 3, 2010, Hotel Murano, Tacoma, Washington

New! Workshop photos available online.

Login Troubles

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SIGCIS Workshop Updates: CFP deadline July 1, Edwards will keynote, other news

Planning work is going well on the SIGCIS 2010 workshop on "Materiality and Immateriality in the History of Computing," to be held in conjunction with the SHOT annual meeting in Tacoma, Washington on October 3. This is our second annual workshop. The first one drew around 50 people.

Full details and the submission forms are online at

Here are some updates:

Bletchley Park WWII archive to go online

Computing in Japan

Compiled by Chigusa Kita

Jump to: Institutions  |  Online Resources


Information Processing Society of Japan's Virtual Computer Museum:

http://museum.ipsj.or.jp/en/index.html (in English)

http://museum.ipsj.or.jp/index.html (Japanese original)

Mahoney Fund

The Fund

SIGCIS established the Mahoney Fund in 2008, following a challenge by Ann Johnson to match her pledged giving in honor of historian of computing Michael S. Mahoney. The fund is the main capital reserve for the SIG, intended to provide a long-term income source and support for special projects. Money held in the fund has been growing proportionately with SHOT’s own endowment, which gave us strong returns to reinvest in 2009 and 2010.


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