Timeline of computing 1950–1979

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This article presents a timeline of events in the history of computing from 1950 to 1979. For a narrative explaining the overall developments, see the related history of computers and history of computer science.

Computing timelines: 2400 BC–1949, 1950–1979, 1980–1989, 1990–1999, 2000–present.



This computer is the first to allow interactive computing, allowing users to interact with it using a keyboard and a cathode-ray tube. The Whirlwind design was later developed into SAGE, a comprehensive system of real-time computers used for early warning of air attacks.

The Mark 1 is a commercial version of the Baby Machine from the University of Manchester. The music program was written by Christopher Strachey.

EDVAC could have new programs loaded from the tape. Proposed by John von Neumann, it was installed at the Institute for Advance Study, Princeton, USA.

The development continued until 1957. It is still in use for scientific programming. Before being run, a FORTRAN program needs to be converted into a machine program by a compiler, itself a program.

Robert Noyce, who later set up Intel, also worked separately on the invention. Intel later went on to perfect the microprocessor. The patent was applied for in 1959 and granted in 1964. This patent wasn't accepted by Japan so Japanese businesses could avoid paying any fees, but in 1989 – after a 30-year legal battle – Japan granted the patent; so all Japanese companies paid fees up until the year 2001 – long after the patent became obsolete in the rest of the World.


This machine introduced many modern architectural concepts: spooling, interrupts, pipelining, interleaved memory, virtual memory and paging. It was the most powerful machine in the world at the time of release.

The game ran on a DEC PDP-1, competing players fired at each others space ships using an early version of joystick.

The Mouse was not to become popular until 1983 with Apple Computer's Macintosh and not adopted by IBM until 1987 – although compatible computers such as the Amstrad PC 1512 were fitted with mice before this date.

several terminals all across campus will be connected to a central computer, using a timesharing mechanism. Bulletin boards and email are popular applications.

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