Timeline: 50 Years of Computing

* First large-scale, general purpose electronic digital computer, the ENIAC, is created at the University of Pennsylvania. The ENIAC weighed 30 tons and contained 18,000 vacuum tubes.


* Westinghouse introduces ANACOM, the first analog computer.


* Texas Instruments starts commercial production of silicon transistors.


* Sharp Electronics mass produces television sets.


* Eastman Kodak introduces its first KODAK CAROUSEL projector, which utilized a round tray holding 80 slides.


* Teletype ships its Model 33 keyboard and punched-tape terminal, used for input and output on many early microcomputers.


* Douglas Engelbart, of the Stanford Research Institute, develops the first "mouse" input device.

* John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz develop the BASIC programming language at Dartmouth College.


* Sony Electronics markets the worldís first personal-use videotape recorder, the CV-2000.


* Steven Gray founds the Amateur Computer Society, and begins publishing the ACS Newsletter.


* Texas Instruments (TI) invents the electronic hand-held calculator.


* Douglas Engelbart demonstrates his system of keyboard, keypad and mouse at the Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco.


* Dept. of Defense commissions ARPANET for research into networking. First node at UCLA, and soon after at Stanford Research Institute, UC Santa Barbara and Univ. of Utah.

* Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is founded.

* Hewlett Packard (HP) markets its first time-shared operating system on a minicomputer, supporting up to 16 users.

* A researcher at AT&T Bell Labs develops the UNIX operating system, named after a word play on the MULTICS project (replacing the "multi" with "uni" and the "cs" with "x").


* Intel releases its first microprocessor, the 4004.

* Computer Curriculum Corp. (CCC) releases mathematics courseware that runs on mainframe computers, later recognized as the first Integrated Learning System (ILS).


* Ray Tomlinson of BBN invents e-mail program to send messages across a distributed network.

* Niklaus Wirth invents the Pascal programming language.

* IBM introduces the "memory disk," an 8-inch floppy plastic disk coated with iron oxide.


* InterNetworking Working Group (INWG) is created to address need for protocols. Vinton Cerf serves as chairman.

* HP introduces the first scientific hand-held calculator, which makes the engineerís slide rule obsolete.


* First international connections to the ARPANET: University College of London (England) and Royal Radar Establishment (Norway).

* Bob Metcalfe invents the Ethernet connectivity system.

* State of Minnesota founds MECC (Minnesota Educational Computing Corp.) to provide mainframe computer time-sharing service to schools.

* Alto workstation computer is built at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. It uses the Smalltalk language, a mouse and Ethernet connectivity.


* Xerox invents Bravo, the first WYSIWYG program for a personal computer.

* Motorola introduces the 6800, an 8-bit microprocessor.


* William H. Gates and Paul G. Allen found Microsoft Corp. The company releases a Basic interpreter for MITSí Altair, the first computer language program for the first personal computer.

* IBMís Entry-Level Systems unit unveils Project Mercury, the 5100 Portable Computer. The briefcase-sized machine with built-in 5" screen sells for $9,000.


* Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak form the Apple Computer company on April Foolís Day.

* Texas Instruments introduces the TMS9900, the first 16-bit microprocessor.

* Michael Shrayer completes writing Electric Pencil, the first popular word processing program for microcomputers.


* Apple Computer unveils the Apple II, which comes with 4K of standard memory, a keyboard and game paddles, but no monitor.

* Commodore Business Machines unveils its PET computer at the West Coast Computer Faire.

* Larry Landweber at University of Wisconsin creates THEORYNET, providing electronic mail to over 100 researchers in computer science.

* Radio Shack announces the TRS-80 microcomputer, with Z80 CPU, 4K RAM, 4K ROM, keyboard, B&W display and tape cassette for $600.


* PBS creates American broadcast televisionís first satellite program distribution system.

* The first major microcomputer bulletin board system, run by Ward Christensen and Randy Seuss, g'es online in Chicago, Ill.

* Epson manufactures the MX-80 dot matrix printer, setting a new standard for low-cost output devices.

* Xerox donates 50 Alto computers to Stanford, Carnegie-Mellon and MIT.


* Apple Education Foundation is founded, granting Apple systems to schools for classroom and curriculum integration.

* The first Comdex trade show is held in Las Vegas.

* Microsoft completes work on BASIC for the Intel 8086 processor.

* Hayes Microcomputer Products introduces the 110/300 baud Micromodem II for the Apple II, priced at $380.


* Sony markets the worldís first commercial color video camera to utilize a completely solid state image sensor called a charge-coupled-device (CCD).

* Apple II is chosen as the network access machine for EDUNET, an international computer network for higher education and research.

* CompuServe merges with H&R Block, and changes name of MicroNET to CompuServe Information Service.


* Microsoft releases MS-DOS operating system for the IBM PC.

* PBSís Adult Learning Service offers its first telecourses for college credit.

* Apple introduces its first mass storage system, the 5MB ProFile hard disk, priced at $3,499.

* BITNET (Because Itís Time Network) is started as a cooperative network at the City University of New York, with the first connection to Yale University.

* National Semiconductor announces the 32000 chip, the first commercial 32-bit microprocessor.


* WICAT Systems -- later part of Jostens Learning -- delivers its first System 300 to a school district, complete with online curriculum.

* Commodore introduces the Commodore 64 with Microsoft BASIC, an integrated sound synthesizer chip and color graphics for under $600.

* Microsoft releases FORTRAN, COBOL for MS-DOS.

* Columbia Data Products releases the MPC, the first IBM PC clone.

* Hercules announces the Hercules Graphics Card, delivering monochrome graphics at 720 x 348 resolution.

* Satellite Software International releases the WordPerfect word processing application.

* Compaq Computer Corp. introduces the Compaq Portable PC, priced at $3,000.


* Bjarne Stroustrup of AT&T develops the C++ computing language, which enables UNIX programmers to improve the quality of code they produce.

* EARN (European Academic and Research Network ) is established with a gateway funded by IBM.

* Time magazine selects the personal computer as "Machine of the Year." The cover story states that Americansí passion for computers "is partly fad, partly a sense of how life could be made better, partly a gigantic sales campaign." A poll reveals that 67% of respondents believe the technology will improve the quality of their childrenís education.

* IBM announces the IBM PC XT. It adds a 10MB hard drive, three more expansion slots and a serial interface.

* Sony introduces the 3.5-inch floppy disk. Double-sided, double-density, it holds up to 875K unformatted.

* Wang develops the single in-line memory module (SIMM).


* Cray Research releases the first standard operating system for supercomputers based on the UNIX OS.

* Apple unveils the Macintosh at an introductory price of $2,400. The 20-pound unit integrates an 8MHz 32-bit Motorola 6800 CPU, 128K RAM, 9-inch B&W screen and 3.5-inch floppy drive.

* Hewlett Packard introduces the HP ThinkJet, an inkjet printer, and the LaserJet laser printer.

* IBM announces the Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA), Professional Graphics Display monitor and Professional Graphics Controller card.

* Philips markets CD-ROM players for personal computers for under $1,000.


* PBS launches MATHLINE, a telecommunications-based professional development initiative for middle and elementary school teachers.

* The International Standards Organization (ISO) creates the first standard for Compact Discs with Read Only Memory (CD-ROM): High Sierra.

* Aldus releases PageMaker, a desktop publishing program, for the Macintosh.

* Microsoft ships Windows 1.0, priced at $100.


* Apple announces it will build a network of specialty dealers to service the education market. U.S. schools are given the opportunity to trade in old Apple, IBM, Tandy and Commodore PCs for credits toward the purchase of new Apple machines.

* Education Systems Corp. (ESC), later part of Jostens Learning, makes its first major sale of Basic Learning Systems to a school district in Little Rock, Ark.

* National Science Foundation establishes five super-computing centers, enabling an explosion of connections from universities.

* Advanced Logic Research ships the first 386-based PC, the Access 386.


* Apple releases HyperCard, a software tool for organizing all forms of information.

* CCC introduces first courseware with color graphics, which runs on a proprietary CCC/LS LAN featuring Atari microcomputers as learning stations.

* U.S. Robotics announces its 9600bps Courier HST modem.

* IBM unveils its Video Graphics Array (VGA), enabling 256 simultaneous colors at a resolution of 320 x 200. The firm discontinues its core IBM PC line.

* Sun Microsystems introduces the Sun-4/260, its first SPARC-based system.

* Raymond Lau releases the StuffIt archive utility for the Mac.


* Sony creates the first 5.25" magneto optical disc, a rewritable medium in a cartridge format.

* A Cornell graduate student unleashes a "worm" on the Internet. Following this incident, the governmentís Advanced Research Projects Agency forms the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT).

* Jarkko Oikarinen develops Internet Relay Chat (IRC).


* Cable in the Classroom, a consortium of national cable networks and local cable companies, begins providing commercial-free educational programming to schools across the U.S.

* Corporation for Research and Education Networking (CREN) is formed by the merger of CSNET into BITNET.

* Intel unveils the 25MHz 486 microprocessor at Comdex. Apricot Computer, of London, England, markets a 486-based PC for $18,000.

* Compaq introduces the Systempro, its first server PC.

* Creative Labs announces Sound Blaster, an 8-bit mono PC sound card.


* Kodak announces its Photo CD system and a proposed worldwide standard for defining color in the digital environment.

* The Personal Computer Memory Card International Association releases the PCMCIA card specification v1.0.

* Microsoft ships Windows 3.0. The firm spends a reported $10 million on a promotional campaign.

* IBM announces its RISC-based workstation line, the RS/6000.

* AppleLink - Personal Link is renamed America Online.


* The HP ScanJet IIc scanner allows computers to input photographs and other visual images in color.

* Apple, IBM and Motorola form an alliance that will eventually develop the PowerPC family of RISC microprocessors.

* Advanced Micro Designs unveils its first clone chips of Intelís i386DX.

* Tandy markets its CDR-1000 CD-ROM drive for PCs, priced at $400, about half the cost of other drives.

* University of Minnesota reseachers release Gopher.


* Microsoft releases Windows 3.1. In six weeks, three million copies are sold.

* Sprint becomes the first national long distance carrier to provide data transmission based on TCP/IP.

* Intel unveils the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) local-bus standard for PCs.

* Sun Microsystems ships the 50MHz MicroSPARC processor. Sunsoft, the firmís software division, introduces the Solaris 2.0 operating system for Intel-based PCs.

* Apple chairman John Scully coins the term Personal Digital Assistant (PDA).


* CCC introduces SuccessMaker software for Windows, courses that integrate videodiscs and enable educators to choose various bundle options by subject area or grade level.

* Intel unveils the Pentium processor, which incorporates 3.1 million transistors.

* Microsoft releases Windows NT and Windows for Workgroups. The Software Publishers Association reports that Windows applications are outselling MS-DOS programs for the first time.

* Compaq, Intel, Microsoft and Ph'enix Technologies define the Plug and Play specification.

* Apple introduces AV Macintosh systems, integrating telecommunications and video technologies on the desktop. The firm ships its 10 millionth Macintosh computer in April.


* Netscape Communications releases Navigator 1.0, which quickly becomes the most popular graphical browser for the World Wide Web.

* Digital Equipment Corp. unveils its next-generation Alpha AXP processors, including a 300-MHz version.

* Gateway 2000 sells its first PC powered by Intelís 75MHz Pentium processor.

* Apple declares that it will openly license the Mac operating system.

* Iomega introduces its Zip drive and Zip disks.


* After a much publicized delay, Microsoft releases Windows 95. One million copies of the OS are sold through retail channels within the first four days. Microsoft also releases Office 95 and Internet Explorer 1.0.

* Sharp Electronics introduces the Zaurus, the first PDA to incorporate both built-in keyboard and pen input mechanisms.

* Radius and Power Computing begin shipping Power Mac clones.

* Intel unveils the Pentium Pro processor, offering speeds of 150MHz, 180MHz and 200MHz.


* MIPS Technologies ships the 200MHz R5000 RISC microprocessor.

* Microsoft unveils Windows CE operating system for hand-held PCs.

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/1997 issue of THE Journal.