Smarter Than Their Machines: Oral Histories of Pioneers in Interactive Computing

2014 book coverWe are pleased to announce the latest title in the ACM Books collection. ACM Books is a new series of high quality books for the computer science community, published by the Association for Computing Machinery in collaboration with Morgan & Claypool Publishers.

 

Smarter Than Their Machines: Oral Histories of Pioneers in Interactive Computing John Cullinane, Northeastern University and Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

November 2014, 216 pages

Description

The oral histories of the pioneers that led to interactive computing have much to offer today’s leaders in business, industry, and academia on how to get complex things done. After all, industry, government, and academia working together created the computer industry, which led to the Internet as we know it today. To do so, the pioneers had to get around the various “systems” of the day that are always impediments to implementing new ideas. In their case, it was the voice-dominated communications industry. For example, packet switching was invented to get around such an issue. This was key to allowing incompatible computers to “talk” to each other across academia, and later industry, which would be the key to the Internet. Cullinane Corporation, the computer industry’s first successful software products company, benefited from this technology as it focused on database software as the foundation for interactive computer systems for industry, government, and academia. As such, this book is a personal walk through the history that led to interactive computing as John Cullinane witnessed it and participated in it, with the help of the oral histories of some key pioneers, organized and introduced in a way that illustrates the close interaction of the various individuals and organizations involved in the evolution of interactive computing. These oral histories, including John’s, were drawn from the archives of over 300 such histories located at the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota.

About the Author:

John Cullinane is the author of Smarter than Their Machines — The Oral Histories of the Pioneers of Interactive Computing, published by the Association for Computing Machinery and based on oral histories archived at the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota. Included are the oral histories of some key pioneers of the computer industry selected by John that led to interactive computing, such as Richard Bloch, Gene Amdahl, Herbert W. Robinson, Sam Wyly, J.C.R. Licklider, Ivan Sutherland, Larry Roberts, Robert Kahn, Marvin Minsky, Michael Dertouzos, Joseph Traub, as well as his own. John has woven them together via personal introductions that is, in essence, a personal walk down the computer industry road. What makes the book different is that John had the unique advantage of having been part of, or witness to, much of history contained in these oral histories beginning as a co-op student at Arthur D. Little, Inc. in the 1950’s. Eventually, he would become a pioneer in his own right by creating the industry’s first successful software products company (Cullinane Corporation) at a time when industry experts said that it couldn’t be done and that others who tried had failed etc. Ironically, work done by industry pioneers such as Robert Kahn with packet switching helped his company succeed.

This title is available via ACM Books Digital Library (http://books.acm.org/subjects/published-titles), or from your preferred retailer in the following formats.

 

Available Formats ISBN Retail Price (USD)
Paperback 9781627055505 39.95
Hard Cover 9781627055536 64.95
PDF 9781627055512 39.95
Epub 9781627055529 39.95

 

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