Bay Area Computer History Perspectives Bay Area Computer History Perspectives is a series of computer history talks in the Silicon Valley area, organized by Peter Nurkse and Jeanie Treichel of Sun Microsystems. Talks are usually scheduled for the fourth Tuesday of the month, at .5:30 p.m., at different local sites. Peter and Jeanie are looking for people interested in helping to organize future sessions in the Bay Area. If you are interested, please contact Peter at the e-mail address below, or by phone at (415) 336-3819. On February 22, Larry Roberts spoke at Sun on the early history of the ARPAnet. Dr. Roberts was director of the Information Processing Techniques Office at ARPA from 1969 to 1973 and managed the growth of the ARPAnet from an initial three nodes to 30 nodes four years later. On March 22, Ivan Sutherland spoke about Sketchpad. Most recently, Dr. Sutherland received the 1993 ACM Software System Award for his work on Sketchpad. Sutherland showed the original film of Sketchpad in operation, as well as lantern slides of illustrations produced on Sketchpad. On May 24 at Apple, Larry Tesler, Bob Herriot, and Larry Breed spoke on the Stanford card stunt routines, an original bitmap graphics program developed at Stanford University in the early 1960s to generate instructions for card displays at football games. Announcements for the Bay Area Computer History Perspectives series are distributed by e-mail. To be placed on the distribution list, send a message to [email protected]
Peter Nurkse and Jeanie Treichel
Discover Awards The Fourth Annual Discover Awards for technological innovation were won by Celeste Baranski and Alain Rossmann of EO for their Personal Communicator in the category Computer Hardware and Electronics. The Personal Communicator comprises an integrated cellular phone, fax machine, and pen-input personal computer. The award for computer software went to Bedrich Chaloupka of Globalink for the Globalink Translation Software.
Niklaus Wirth In honor of Niklaus Wirth’s 60th birthday, the Swiss Federal Technical College (ETH) recently organized a three-day conference on programming languages and system architectures. Thanks to the top-class scientists in the field who participated - among them the four Turing Award winners E.W. Dijkstra, C.A.R. Hoare, B. Lampson, and N. Wirth the conference attracted an audience of far more than 200 delegates.
The topic of each conference day was launched by an invited talk. The topics and invited talks were System Architectures, launched by Butler Lampson with “Interconnecting Computers: Architecture, Technology, and Economics”; Programming Languages, launched by Susan Graham with “Languages and Interactive Software Development”; and Symbiosis, launched by C.A.R. Hoare with “Hardware and Software: The Closing Gap.” Also, E. W. Dijkstra gave one of his truly committed talks on “the role of programs in proofs” (right, not the other way around!). The conference was rounded off by a special Friday afternoon session in personal honor of Niklaus Wirth, with informal contributions by some of his closer friends and former companions, among them C.A.R. Hoare, B. Lampson, Ed McCreight, R. Ohran, and A. and B. Walker of Ada, Oklahoma (“Wirth programs in Ada”). Juerg Gutknecht
Anecdotes JAMES E. TOMAYKO,
The Anecdotes department is an opportunity for participants in the history of computing to contribute reminiscences of salient events. These stories can vary in scale from the origins of a term to first-person accounts of critical turning points. Since the material in this column often represents personal views tempered or sometimes weakened by memory, the editor invites other opinions and evidence.
Electronic Computer for Home Operation (ECHO): The First Home Computer The April 1994 meeting of the Pittsburgh Section of the IEEE featured a talk by now retired Westinghouse Electric engineer James Sutherland, who built what he thinks is the first home computer in the mid-1960s. Base