The Machine that Changed the World (1992) BBC

Episode II - Inventing the Future

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Video Description

Episode II - Inventing the Future

The Growing Market for Computers

The First Computer Company

Bureau of the Census Machine

UNIVAC -- A magazine advertisment of the time,

courtesy Unisys & GTE Sylvania, through WGBH Press Kit.

Magnetic Tape

Lyons Electronic Office- LEO

John Pinkerton

Commercial Applications

Cambridge University- EDSAC

McCarthyism - Impact on Mauchly

Henry Strauss

Remington Rand

1952 Presidential Election

IBM Enters the field

SSEC - Selective Sequence Electronic Computer

The First Drum Machine- IBM 650

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Programming Languages- Errors


Process Control and Automation

Bank of America - ERMA

Magnetic Ink Character Recognition - MICR

The Transistor

Brattain, Bardeen, Shockley (this link appears to have disappeared, we are looking for a good replacement)

Integrated Circuit- Kilby & Noyce

Computers and Space

Episode II of "The Machine That Changed the World"" had the opportunity to give credit for the 'invention' of the computer to one John Vincent Atanasoff. Atanasoff, together with a graduate student, Clifford Berry, developed a special purpose computer in the late 1930's that contained many of the elements of the modern computer. However, the development of the machine was hampered by the outset of World War II, and both Atanasoff and Berry moved to other work. In a later court case between Honeywell and Sperry Rand, the judge found the orininal patent claims by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert to be invalid, stating that the inventor of the computer was "One, John Vincent Atanasoff".

Another missing person is Grace Murray Hopper. Dr. Hopper was perhaps the first modern woman to be involved in computers (Ada King, Countess of Lovelace possibly being the first in the 19th century). She started work for Howard Aiken in 1943 on the Harvard Mark I Calculator (also called the IBM ASCC). Sunsequently she became deeply involved in the development of high level languages for computers, creating the concept of a compiler, and two early languages. She was highly influential in the development of COBOL and its usage in military installations. She became the highest ranking female Navy person of her time (Rear Admiral) and a role model to thousands of young women. She is perhaps best known for her discovery of the first computer bug in the Harvard Mark II computer. The bug now resides at the National Museum of American History in Washington DC.

Documentary Description

The Machine that Changed the World (1992)

The Machine that Changed the World (1992) is a 5-episode television series on the history of electronic digital computers. It was written and directed by Nancy Linde, and produced by WGBH Television of Boston, Massachusetts, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. Backers included the Association for Computing Machinery, the National Science Foundation, and the UNISYS Corporation.

The first three episodes deal with the history of fully electronic general-purpose digital computers from the ENIAC through desktop microcomputers. The pre-history of such machines is examined in the first episode ("Giant Brains"), and includes a discussion of the contributions of Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing, and others. The fourth episode ("The Thinking Machine") explores the topic of artificial intelligence. The fifth episode ("The World at Your FIngertips") explores the then-newly-emerging worldwide networking of computers. All episodes begin and end with a song by Peter Howell, "Stellae matutinae radius exoritur" ("The morning star's ray arises").

   Episode 1, "Giant Brains" at alternate link
   Episode 2, "Inventing the Future", at alternate link
   Episode 3, "The Paperback Computer", at alternate link
   Episode 4, "The Thinking Machine", at alternate link
   Episode 5, "The World at Your Fingertips", at alternate link


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