2018 Computer History Museum Prize


Ben Peters, How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet (MIT Press, 2016).

Prize Citation:

Benjamin Peters’s history of the Soviet Internet represents a pathbreaking contribution to the understanding of the history of computing and networking. Based on detailed empirical research in Russian archives, it extends the reach of these histories into new, non-Anglo-American domains. In describing the complex institutional and political reasons for the ultimate failure of the All-State Automated Systems (OGAS), How Not to Network a Nation challenges common assumptions about the relationships between decentralization, free markets, and electronic networking. Peters’s treatment of Soviet networking brings into sharper view the infrastructures, power relations, successes, and shortcomings of our own electronic networks.

About the CHM Prize:

The Computer History Museum Prize is awarded to the author of an outstanding book in the history of computing broadly conceived, published during the prior three years. The prize of $1,000 is awarded by SIGCIS, the Special Interest Group for Computers, Information and Society. SIGCIS is part of the Society for the History of Technology. 

In 2012 the prize was endowed in perpetuity through a generous bequest from the estate of Paul Baran, a legendary computer innovator and entrepreneur best known for his work to develop and promote the packet switching approach on which modern networks are built. Baran was a longtime supporter of work on the history of information technology and named the prize to celebrate the contributions of the Computer History Museum to that field.