Pioneering the Science of Information

Kevin Maney

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On March 28, 1955, the cover of Time featured a drawing of IBM president Thomas Watson Jr. in front of a cartoonish robot, along with this caption: “Clink. Clank. Think.” At the time, few but a small cadre of experts had ever seen—much less touched—a computer. The magazine story marveled at the machinery, built by IBM and operating inside a Monsanto office building.

“To IBM, it was the Model 702 Electronic Data Processing Machine,” the story said. “To Monsanto and awed visitors, it was simply ‘the giant brain.’”

We can’t help considering computers this way. No matter the year—1911, 1955 or 2011—we ...

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