Timeline of computing 1950–79

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This article presents a detailed timeline of events in the history of computing from 1950 to 1979. For narratives explaining the overall developments, see the History of computing.


Date Place Event
Sep 1950 GER Konrad Zuse leased his Z4 machine to the ETH Zurich for five years. Z4 was a relay-based machine. The corresponding contract was signed in the fall of 1949, and the machine reassembled in Zurich after its arrival in July 1950.

The Z4 was replaced by ERMETH, a computer developed at the ETH in Switzerland from 1953 to 1956, one of the first electronic computers on the European continent.

1950 UK Turing Test – The British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing published a paper describing the potential development of human and computer intelligence and communication. The paper would come later to be called the Turing Test.
1950 UK The Pilot ACE computer, with 800 vacuum tubes, and mercury delay lines for its main memory, became operational on 10 May 1950 at the National Physical Laboratory near London. It was a preliminary version of the full ACE, which had been designed by Alan Turing.
1950 JAP Floppy disk is invented.

Yoshiro Nakamatsu, in Tokyo, got the idea for the floppy disk in 1950. He later received a Japanese patent in 1952,[1][2] and filed for an American patent in 1959.[3]

1950 USA TIME magazine cover story on the Harvard "Mark III: Can man build a superman?" includes a quote from Howard Aiken, commenting on "calculators" (computers) then under construction: "We'll have to think up bigger problems if we want to keep them busy."
1951 JAP The ETL Mark I, Japan's first digital automatic computer, began development in 1951 and was completed in 1952. It was developed by the Electrotechnical Laboratory using relays, based on the switching circuit theory formulated by Akira Nakashima in the 1930s and advanced by Goto Mochinori in the 1940s.[4][5]
30 Mar 1951 USA The first commercially successful electronic computer, UNIVAC, was also the first general purpose computer – designed to handle both numeric and textual information. Designed by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, whose corporation subsequently passed to Remington Rand. The implementation of this machine marked the real beginning of the computer era. Remington Rand delivered the first UNIVAC machine to the U.S. Bureau of Census. This machine used magnetic tape for input.
21 Apr 1951 USA Whirlwind, the first real-time computer was built at MIT by the team of Jay Forrester for the US Air Defense System, became operational.

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.

17 Nov 1951 UK J Lyons, a United Kingdom food company, famous for its tea, made history by running the first business application on an electronic computer. A payroll system was run on Lyons Electronic Office (LEO) a computer system designed by Maurice Wilkes who had previously worked on EDSAC.
Sep 1951 UK The oldest known recordings of computer generated music were played by the Ferranti Mark 1 computer.

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

1951 USA EDVAC (electronic discrete variable computer). The first computer to use Magnetic Tape.

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.

1951 Australia CSIRAC used to play music – the first time a computer was used as a musical instrument.
1951 USA The A-0 high level compiler is invented by Grace Murray Hopper.
Apr 1952 USA IBM introduces the IBM 701, the first computer in its 700 and 7000 series of large scale machines with varied scientific and commercial architectures, but common electronics and peripherals. Some computers in this series remained in service until the 1980s.
June 1952 USA IAS machine completed at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA (by Von Neumann and others).
1952 USSR BESM-1 is completed. Only one BESM-1 machine was built. The machine used approximately 5,000 vacuum tubes.
1953 UK The University of Manchester team complete the first transistorised computer.
1953 USA Arthur Andersen was hired to program the payroll for General Electric (GE)'s Appliance Park manufacturing facility near Louisville, Kentucky. As a result, GE purchased UNIVAC I which became the first-ever commercial computer in the USA. Joe Glickauf was Arthur Andersen's project leader for the GE engagement.
1953 World Estimate that there are 100 computers in the world.
1953 USA Magnetic core memory developed.
1954 JAP ETL Mark III, the first transistorised stored-program computer, begins development at Electrotechnical Laboratory.

It began development in 1954,[6] and was completed in 1956, as the first transistorised stored-program computer.[7][8][9] It used ultrasonic delay line memory.[8]

1954 JAP The parametron, a logic circuit element, is invented by Eiichi Goto.[10] Parametrons were used in Japanese computers from 1954 to the early 1960s, such as the University of Tokyo's PC-1 built in 1958, due to being reliable and inexpensive, but were ultimately surpassed by transistors due to differences in speed.[11]
1954 USA FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation), the first high-level programming language development, was begun by John Backus and his team at IBM

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.

1954 USA The IBM 650 is introduced. A relatively inexpensive decimal machine with drum storage, it becomes the first mass-produced computer, with some 2000 installations.
December 1954 USA The NORC was delivered by IBM to the US Navy.
1956 JAP The ETL Mark III's successor, the ETL Mark IV, began development in 1956 and was completed in 1957. It was a stored-program transistor computer with high-speed magnetic drum memory.[12][5]
1956 USA First conference on artificial intelligence held at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
1956 USA The Bendix G-15 computer was introduced by the Bendix Corporation
1956 NED Edsger Dijkstra invented an efficient algorithm for shortest paths in graphs as a demonstration of the abilities of the ARMAC computer. The example used was the Dutch railway system. The problem was chosen because it could be explained quickly and the result checked. Although this is the main thing many people will remember Dijkstra for, he also made important contributions to many areas of computing – in particular he should be remembered for his work on problems relating to concurrency, such as the invention of the semaphore.
1957 JAP Casio released the Model 14-A, the first electric desktop calculator.
1957 USA First dot matrix printer marketed by IBM.
1957 USA FORTRAN development finished. See 1954.
1957 USA

I have travelled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year.

— Editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall.
1958 JAP The MARS-1, the first computer reservation system for trains, is produced.

It was designed and planned in the 1950s by the Japanese National Railways' R&D Institute, now the Railway Technical Research Institute, with the system eventually produced by Hitachi in 1958.[13][5] It was a transistor computer with a central processing unit, a 400,000-bit magnetic drum memory unit, and many registers, to indicate whether seats in a train were vacant or reserved, for communications with terminals, printing reservation notices, and CRT displays.[13]

1958 JAP A modified version of the ETL Mark IV, the ETL Mark IV A, is introduced, as a fully transistorised computer with magnetic-core memory and an index register.[5][14]
1958 USA Programming language LISP (interpreted) developed, Finished in 1960. LISP stands for 'LISt Processing'. Used in A.I. development. Developed by John McCarthy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
1958 USSR Setun, a balanced ternary computer developed in 1958 at Moscow State University.
12 Sep 1958 USA The integrated circuit invented by Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments.

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.

1959 World Computers introduced between 1959 and 1964, often regarded as Second Generation computers, were based on discrete transistors and printed circuits – resulting in smaller, more powerful and more reliable computers.
1959 USA COBOL (COmmon Business-Oriented Language) developed by Grace Murray Hopper as the successor to FLOW-MATIC, finished in 1961.
1959 USSR Minsk mainframe computer development and production begun in the USSR. Stopped in 1975.


Date Place Event
1960 USA
ALGOL, first structured, procedural, programming language to be released.
1960 UK Compiler compiler, first compiler compiler is released.
1961 JAP The KT-Pilot, developed by Kyoto University and Toshiba, is introduced. It was an early microprogram-controlled electronic computer.[5][15]
1961 USA APL programming language released by Kenneth Iverson at IBM.
1962 UK ATLAS is completed by the University of Manchester team.

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.

1962 USA Work begun on the Linc, the brainchild of the M.I.T. physicist Wesley A. Clark in May 1961. It was the first functional prototype of a computer scaled down to be optimized and priced for the individual user. Used for the first time at the National Institutes of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland in 1963, many consider it to be the first personal computer.
1962 USA Spacewar, an early and influential computer game, is written by MIT student Steve Russell.

The game ran on a DEC PDP-1, where competing players fired at each other's space ships.

1962  ? The AN/UYK-1 computer was designed with rounded edges to fit through the hatch of ballistic missile submarines, as part of the first satellite navigation system, Transit.
1963 USA Mouse conceived by Douglas Engelbart[citation needed]

The Mouse was not to become popular until 1983 with Apple Computer's Lisa and Macintosh and not adopted by IBM until 1987 – although compatible computers such as the Amstrad PC1512 were fitted with mice before this date.

1964 USA Computers built between 1964 and 1972 are often regarded as 'Third Generation' computers, they are based on the first integrated circuits – creating even smaller machines. Typical of such machines was the IBM System/360 series mainframe, while smaller minicomputers began to open up computing to smaller businesses.
1964 USA Programming language PL/I released by IBM.
1964 USA Launch of IBM System/360 – the first series of compatible computers, reversing and stopping the evolution of separate "business" and "scientific" machine architectures; all models used the same basic instruction set architecture and register sizes, in theory allowing programs to be migrated to more or less powerful models as needs changed. The basic unit of memory, the "byte", was defined as 8 bits, with larger units such as "words" defined with sizes that were multiples of 8, with many consequences. Many competing computers at the time used word sizes that were multiples of 6. The marketing term "IBM Compatible" was often used, at this time, to indicate that the architecture used 8-bit bytes. Over 14,000 were shipped by 1968.
1964 USA Project MAC begun at MIT by J.C.R. Licklider:

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

1964 USA Sabre (computer system) launched.[16]
1965 JAP Dynamic RAM (DRAM) introduced by Toshiba's Toscal BC-1411 desktop calculator.

The calculator used a form of dynamic RAM built from discrete components.[17]

1965 USA
Fuzzy logic designed by Lofti Zadeh.

It is used to process approximate data – such as 'about 100'. He published his work at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mar 1965 USA DEC PDP-8, the first minicomputer, introduced.

It was built by Digital Equipment (DEC). It cost US$16,000.

1965 USA Moore's law published by Gordon Moore. Originally suggesting processor complexity doubled every year.

It was published in the 35th Anniversary edition of Electronics magazine. The law was revised in 1975 to suggest a doubling in complexity every two years.

1965 USSR BESM-6 mainframe computer was designed in the USSR.
1965 USA Programming language BASIC (Beginners All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) developed at Dartmouth College, USA, by Thomas E. Kurtz and John George Kemeny.

BASIC was not implemented on microcomputers until 1975. This was the first language designed to be used in a time-sharing environment, such as DTSS (Dartmouth Time-Sharing System), or GCOS.

1965 USA Packet switching, funded by ARPA was developed. This makes reliable computer networking possible.

The first computer-to-computer login does not occur until November 21, 1969, between Stanford and UCLA.

1965 USA The first supercomputer, the Control Data CDC 6600, was developed.
1966 USA Hewlett-Packard entered the general purpose computer business with its HP-2115 for computation, offering power formerly found only in much larger computers. It supported a wide variety of languages, among them ALGOL, BASIC, and FORTRAN.
Oct 1967 JAP Casio releases the AL-1000, an early electronic programmable calculator.[18]
1967 USA
Floppy disk is commercially introduced by IBM.

Developed by David Noble under the direction of Alan Shugart, for use with the System/370. License royalties are paid to Dr. Yoshiro Nakamatsu, who got the idea for the floppy disk in 1950.[19][20]

1967 USA
Development of programming language Pascal begun, continued in Switzerland from 1968 to 1971.[21] Based on ALGOL. Developed by Niklaus Wirth as a pedagogic tool.
1968 JAP Noriko Umeda's team at Electrotechnical Laboratory developed the first text-to-speech synthesis system.[22]
1968 USA Intel founded by Robert Noyce and a few friends.
1968 JAP The "Busicom Project" which produced the first commercial microprocessor, the Intel 4004,[23] began development at Busicom.[24]

Busicom engineer Masatoshi Shima created a three-chip CPU design for the Busicom 141-PF calculator.[24][23] Sharp engineer Tadashi Sasaki was also involved with its development, and conceived of a single-chip CPU design, influenced by an unnamed woman, a software engineering researcher from Nara Women's College, at a brainstorming meeting. Sasaki then had his first meeting with Intel, and discussed the woman's idea with Busicom and Intel.[25]

1968 USA Programming language LOGO developed by Seymour Papert and team at MIT.
1968 USA
2 Oct 1968 GER First computer ball mouse offered by Telefunken.[26][27]

The device named Rollkugel RKS 100-86 is based on "reversing" an earlier trackball-like device (also named Rollkugel) embedded into radar flight control desks, which had been developed around 1965 by a team led by Rainer Mallebrein at Telefunken Konstanz for the German Bundesanstalt für Flugsicherung as part of their TR 86 process computer system with its SIG 100-86 vector graphics terminal.[28]

9 Dec 1968 USA Douglas Engelbart demonstrates interactive computing,

at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco: mouse, on-screen windows, hypertext and full-screen word processing.

1969 JAP Sharp QT-8D, the first mass-produced calculator to have its logic circuitry entirely implemented with LSI ICs based on MOS technology, is released.[29][30]

Upon its introduction,[31] it was one of the smallest electronic calculators ever produced commercially.

1969 USA
The architecture and specifications of the Intel 4004, the first commercial microprocessor, was designed by an Intel team led by Marcian Hoff and a Busicom team led by Masatoshi Shima.[23]
1969 USA ARPANET begun by the United States Department of Defense for research into networking.

It is the original basis for what now forms the Internet. It was opened to non-military users later in the 1970s and many universities and large businesses went on-line.

1969 USA Development of UNIX operating system begun.[32]

It was later released as C source code to aid portability, and subsequently versions are obtainable for many different computers, including the IBM PC. It and its clones (such as GNU/Linux) are still widely used on network servers and scientific workstations. Originally developed by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie.

7 Apr 1969 USA The first Request for Comments, RFC 1 published. The RFCs (network working group, Request For Comment) are a series of papers which are used to develop and define protocols for networking; originally the basis for ARPANET, there are now thousands of them applying to all aspects of the Internet. Collectively they document everything about the way the Internet and computers on it should behave, whether its TCP/IP networking or how email headers should be written there will be a set of RFCs describing it.
1969  ? Introduction of the RS-232 (serial interface) standard by EIA (Electronic Industries Association), one of the oldest serial interfaces still (uncommonly) in use today.
1969 USA Data General shipped a total of 50,000 Novas at US$8,000 each. The Nova was one of the first 16-bit minicomputers and led the way toward word lengths that were multiples of the 8-bit byte. It was first to employ medium-scale integration (MSI) circuits from Fairchild Semiconductor, with subsequent models using large-scale integrated (LSI) circuits. Also notable was that the entire central processor was contained on one 15-inch printed circuit board.


Date Place Event
1970 JAP First portable calculators released in Japan.

These included the Sanyo ICC-0081 Mini Calculator, Canon Pocketronic, and Sharp QT-8B Micro Compet. The Sharp QT-8B was also the first mass-produced calculator to be battery-powered.[33] These calculators were soon marketed around the world.

Jun 1970 USA AiResearch and American Microsystems develop the MP944, one of the candidates for first microprocessor, for the F-14A Tomcat fighter jet.
Oct 1970 USA
First dynamic RAM (DRAM) chip introduced by Intel.

It was called the Intel 1103 and had a capacity of 1 Kbit, 1024 bits. While DRAM had earlier appeared in Toshiba's Toscal BC-1411 desktop calculator, it was built from discrete components,[34] which Intel compressed down to a single integrated circuit (IC) chip.

Nov 1970 JAP Sharp released the Sharp EL-8, the first battery-powered, handheld calculator.[35][36]
1970 USA Programming language Forth developed. A simple, clean, stackbased design, which later inspired PostScript and the Java virtual machine.
Feb 1971 JAP Busicom released the LE-120A HANDY, the first electronic pocket calculator and the first "calculator on a chip".

It was the first handheld calculator to use a single integrated circuit chip, as well as the first calculator to use an LED display and the first electronic calculator to run off replaceable batteries.[37]

Mar 1971 USA
Intel 4004, the first commercial microprocessor, is released.

It contains the equivalent of 2,300 transistors and was a 4-bit processor. It is capable of around 60,000 instructions per second (0.06 MIPS), running at a maximum clock speed of 740 kHz. It was a joint project by Busicom and Intel, with designs and concepts from Masatoshi Shima, Tadashi Sasaki, Marcian Hoff and Federico Faggin. It debuted with the Busicom 141-PF desktop calculator in March, before being released for the general market in November.

Mar 1971 JAP Busicom released the Busicom 141-PF desktop calculator, the first microprocessor-based computing device.

It used the Intel 4004 microprocessor, a joint project developed by Busicom and Intel.

1971 USA CTC ships the Datapoint 2200, a mass-produced programmable terminal. Its multi-chip CPU provided the basis for the Intel 8008. A monitor and cassette drives were built-in, and the entire system fit the approximate footprint of an IBM Selectric typewriter. Users quickly began to use the system as a standalone computer, arguably qualifying as a personal computer.
1971 USA Kenbak-1 ships. This small, cheap (US$750) personal computer, build using pre-microprocessor TTL technology, is considered to be an early personal computer.[38]
1971 USA Ray Tomlinson develops the first program that can send email messages, via the Arpanet, between people using different computers. (Programs existed previously that could send such messages between users logging onto the same computer.)
1971 8-inch floppy disk introduced.[39]
1972 USA Atari founded by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney.
1972  ? Computers built after 1972 are often called 'fourth generation' computers, based on LSI (Large Scale Integration) of circuits (such as microprocessors) – typically 500 or more components on a chip. Later developments include VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) of integrated circuits 5 years later – typically 10,000 components. The fourth generation is generally viewed as running right up until the present, since although computing power has increased the basic technology has remained virtually the same.
1972 USA Programming language C developed at The Bell Laboratories in the USA

Dennis Ritchie, one of the inventors of the Unix operating system, simplifies BCPL into a language he calls B, then iterates B into C. It is a very popular language, especially for systems programming – as it is flexible and fast. C was considered a refreshing change in the computing industry because it helped introduce structured programming. Inspired by C, C++, was introduced in the 1980s, and in turn helped usher in the era of object-oriented programming.

1972 USA First handheld scientific calculator released by Hewlett-Packard, the engineer's slide rule is at last obsolete.
Apr 1972 USA 8008 microprocessor released by Intel.
Apr 1972 JAP Sord Computer Corporation (now Toshiba Personal Computer System Corporation) developed the Sord SMP80/08, the first microcomputer.

It used the Intel 8008 microprocessor, which it was developed in tandem with.[40]

29 Nov 1972 USA Pong released, and is widely recognised as the first popular arcade video game. It was created by Nolan Bushnell and Allan Alcorn.
1972 USA The first international connections to ARPANET are established. ARPANET later became the basis for what we now call the Internet.
1972 NOR Norsk Data launches the Nord-5, the first 32-bit supermini computer.
1972 USA In 1972-1973 IBM Los Gatos Scientific Center developed a portable computer prototype called SCAMP (Special Computer APL Machine Portable) based on the IBM PALM processor with a Philips compact cassette drive, small CRT and full function keyboard. SCAMP emulated an IBM 1130 minicomputer in order to run APL\1130.[41] Because it was the first to emulate APL\1130 performance on a portable, single-user computer, PC Magazine in 1983 designated SCAMP a "revolutionary concept" and "the world's first personal computer".[41][42] The prototype is in the Smithsonian Institution.
1973 JAP Kasco (Kansei Seiki Seisakusho) develops arcade game Playtron, the first video game with color graphics, sprites, and modular hardware.[43]
1973 USA Development of the TCP/IP protocol suite by a group headed by Vinton Cerf and Robert E. Kahn. These are the protocols used on the internet.
1973 FRA Programming language Prolog developed at the University of Luminy-Marseilles in France by Alain Colmerauer. It introduced the new paradigm of logical programming and is often used for expert systems and AI programming.
1973 USA The TV Typewriter, designed by Don Lancaster, provided the first display of alphanumeric information on an ordinary television set. It used US$120 worth of electronics components. The original design included two memory boards and could generate and store 512 characters as 16 lines of 32 characters. A 90-minute cassette tape provided supplementary storage for about 100 pages of text.
1973 USA Ethernet developed.

This became a popular way of connecting PCs and other computers together – to enable them to share data, and devices such as printers. A group of machines connected together in this way is known as a LAN.

Feb 1974 JAP The first video game with human sprites, Taito's Basketball, is licensed to Midway as TV Basketball.[44][45]
1974 JAP Taito releases Tomohiro Nishikado's Speed Race, the first video game with scrolling graphics.[46]
1974 UK CLIP-4, the first computer with a parallel architecture.
1974 CAN The MCM/70, an early personal computer, is released by Micro Computer Machines of Canada. It failed commercially, despite weighing just 20 pounds and featuring a plasma display and a ROM-based APL programming language interpreter.
Apr 1974 USA
Introduction of the Intel 8080, the first widespread microprocessor.

It ran at a clock frequency of 2 MHz and did 0.64 MIPS. Designed by Federico Faggin and Masatoshi Shima, it was the first commercial general-purpose microprocessor.

May 1974 JAP Sord Computer Corporation revealed the SMP80/x series, the first microcomputers to use the 8080 microprocessor. The SMP80/x series marked a major leap toward the popularization of microcomputers.[40]
1974 USA Motorola announces the MC6800 8-bit microprocessor. It is more easy to implement than the 8080 because it only needs a single power supply to operate and does not need support chips. Unlike the 8080 it is sold not as much as a general purpose "number cruncher / computer" CPU core but more as a control processor for industrial control and as a peripheral processor.
1974 USA Engineers Chuck Peddle and Bill Mensch leave Motorola after completing work on the 6800 CPU and join MOS Technology, Inc.
9 Oct 1974 UK ICL launches its New Range of mainframes, the ICL 2900 Series.
1975 JAP
Gun Fight (a.k.a. Western Gun), the first video game to use a microprocessor and graphics chip, is released in arcades.

Western Gun was a shooter game developed by Taito's Tomohiro Nishikado, using the Fujitsu MB14241 video shifter to accelerate the drawing of sprite graphics.[47][48][49] It used discrete logic arcade hardware, which was converted by Dave Nutting into Midway's Gun Fight, using microprocessor-based arcade hardware, based on the Intel 8080.

1975 USA The MITS Altair 8800, the first commercially successful hobby computer, is released. An article in Popular Electronics (January 1975), described the computer and invited people to order kits. Despite the limited processing power, input/output system (blinkenlights and toggle switches) and memory (256 bytes), around 200 were ordered on the first day. 10,000 units were eventually shipped at a kit price of US$397 each. Numerous companies produced clones based on the "S-100 bus" (the Altair's main bus).
1975 USA First microcomputer implementation of BASIC by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, it was written for the MITS Altair, this led to the formation of Microsoft later in the year.
1975 USA Unix marketed (see 1969).
1975 NOR Norwegian company Mycron releases its MYCRO-1, the first single-board computer.
1975 USA Formation of Microsoft by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
1975 USA MOS Technology, Inc. releases their 6501 CPU. which is pin compatible with Motorola's 6800, who soon starts a lawsuit against them. The 6501 is quickly withdrawn from sale and replaced with the 6502 which has a "lawsuit-compatible"[50] design, but is otherwise nearly identical to the 6501. The 6502 becomes one of the most popular CPUs for the next 10 years and is used in many computers and game consoles (most notably the Atari 2600, Apple II, the Commodore PET, VIC-20 and Commodore 64, the Acorn Electron/BBC Microcomputer, and the Nintendo Entertainment System/NES).
1975 USA IBM 5100 computer released; with integrated keyboard, display, and mass storage on tape, it resembles the personal computers of a few years later, although it does not use a microprocessor.
Nov 1975 USA
Zilog is founded by ex-Intel employees Federico Faggin and Ralph Ungermann, who are joined by ex-Busicom employee Masatoshi Shima.
1 Apr 1976 USA Apple Computer, Inc. founded, to market the Apple I single-board computer designed by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs. It uses the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor.
1976 USA First laser printer introduced by IBM – the IBM 3800.

The first colour versions came onto the market in 1988.

1976 USA Introduction of the Intel 8085 chip. An improved version of the 8080, with a superset of the 8080s instruction set (only a couple of extra instructions). Single 5V power supply (while the 8080 needed several different voltages).
1976 USA
Z80 microprocessor chip released by Zilog. Designed by Intel 8080 creators Federico Faggin and Masatoshi Shima, it was a superset of the 8080 chip with additional registers and instructions, and using only one power supply voltage. CP/M was originally written for the 8080, but many implementations used the Z80. The Z80 was the processor for home computers like the Tandy TRS-80 of 1977, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum of 1982 and many others.
1976 USA MOS Technology, Inc introduces the KIM-1 microcomputer system as a demonstrator for its 6502 CPU.
1976 USA Cray-1 supercomputer was invented by Seymour Cray. He left Control Data in 1972 to form his own company. This machine was known as much for its horseshoe-shaped design as it was for being the first supercomputer to make vector processing practical. 85 were shipped at a cost of US$5 million each.
1976 USA Commodore buys MOS Technology, Inc in a stock trade. MOS is valued at US$12 million. Chuck Peddle joins Commodore as chief engineer. With the purchase of MOS, Commodore begins work on the Commodore PET.
1976 USA Emacs text editing software created.[32]
1976 "5.25 inch floppy disks are introduced. When this product reaches the PC market it causes an explosive growth in digital information storage."[39]
1977 JAP Roland releases the first microprocessor-driven programmable music sequencer, the Roland MC-8 Microcomposer.[51]

It is first used in 1978 by electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra.[52][53]

1977 USA
5 Jun 1977 USA Apple II computer, the first home computer, is introduced.

It is based on an 8-bit MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor running at 1 MHz with 4 KB of RAM. It had an open architecture, a CRT monitor, color graphics, and an audio cassette interface for loading programs and storing data. Later, in July 1978, a floppy disk drive was made available with an elegantly designed interface.[54][55] One of the first examples of a "killer app" (for the business world) was released for it—the VisiCalc spreadsheet program–in 1979.

Aug 1977 USA Tandy brought out the TRS-80, an early home computer, with "Level I BASIC". Although the TRS-80 had a primitive 4K BASIC (a stripped down version of the public domain "Li-Chen Wang Basic") and abysmal graphics it still became a bestseller quickly.
Sep 1977 JAP Sord Computer Corporation released the Sord M200 Smart Home Computer, one of the first home computers. It was an early desktop computer that combined a Zilog Z80 CPU, keyboard, CRT display, floppy disk drive and MF-DOS operating system into an integrated unit.[56]
Sep 1977 USA Heathkit made the H8 Home computer kit available. It was based on an Intel 8080A processor and shipped with HDOS a Heathkit Disk Operating System and Benton Harbor BASIC.
Oct 1977 USA Commodore introduces the Commodore PET, an early home computer. It comes with 4 KB or 8 KB of RAM, and an integrated cassette deck and 9" monochrome monitor.
1978 JAP Roland releases the first microprocessor-driven programmable drum machine, the Roland CR-78.[51]
1978 USA Tandy upgraded the TRS-80 with a much improved Microsoft 8K "Level II BASIC", and an "expansion interface" which added 32 KB RAM, A floppy disk and a printer interface. With these extras the TRS-80 became a viable small business computer.
Jun 1978 JAP Taito's arcade video game Space Invaders is released, sparking a video game craze.

Developed by Tomohiro Nishikado, it began the golden age of arcade video games. In 1979, it would inspire other popular shoot 'em up arcade games such as Namco's Galaxian and Atari's Asteroids.

8 Jun 1978 USA Introduction of the 16-bit Intel 8086, the first x86 microprocessor.

The available clock frequencies were 5, 8 and 10 MHz, with an instruction set of about 300[citation needed] operations. At its introduction, the fastest 8086 available was the 8 MHz version which achieved 0.8 MIPS and contained 29,000 transistors. Over three decades later, x86 remains the most popular and commercially successful instruction set architecture in the history of personal computing.

1979 JAP
Compact disc (CD) was invented by Sony and Philips.
1979 USA Programming language Ada introduced by Jean Ichbiah and team at Honeywell for the US Department of Defense.
1 Jun 1979 USA Introduction of the Intel 8088, compatible with the 8086 with an 8-bit data bus – but this makes it cheaper to implement in computers. Chosen for the IBM PC, Intel processors were found in millions of IBM-PC compatible computers.
Oct 1979 JAP Namco released Galaxian, which debuted the Namco Galaxian arcade system board. It used specialized graphics hardware, supporting RGB color and introducing multi-colored sprites, tilemap backgrounds,[57] a sprite line buffer system,[58] and scrolling graphics.[59] The Namco Galaxian hardware was widely adopted by other arcade game manufacturers during the golden age of arcade video games,[60] including Centuri, Gremlin, Irem, Konami, Midway, Nichibutsu, Sega and Taito.[61] It also inspired Nintendo's hardware for Radar Scope and Donkey Kong as well as the Nintendo Entertainment System home console.[59]
1979 JAP NEC began development of the NEC µPD7220,[62] the first microprocessor-based,[63] single-chip graphics processing unit (GPU).[64][62]

Using VLSI technology,[65] the µPD7220 was the first implementation of a graphics processor as a single large-scale integration (LSI) integrated circuit chip, enabling the design of low-cost, high-performance graphics cards, such as those from Number Nine Visual Technology. The µPD7220 is released in 1982, with the NEC PC-98 computer and then independently, and becomes the best-known GPU on the market by 1986.[66]

1979 UK Commodore PET released in the United Kingdom. Based on a 1 MHz 6502 processor it displayed monochrome text and had just 8 KB of RAM. Priced £569. For £776 you could purchase a version with 16 KB of RAM, while for £914 you could get a 32 KB of RAM.
1979 USA The 68000 Microprocessor launched by Motorola, the first of the 68k family. 5+ years later it was used in machines such as the Apple Macintosh, the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga.
1979 USA Shortly after the release of V7 Unix, which included UUCP, a protocol for communication over standard telephone lines, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis created Usenet, a global discussion group system. Nowadays, it uses Internet protocols and is still popular.
1979 USA Four disgruntled Atari programmers leave and form Activision, the first third-party video game software publisher. Activision promotes both the game and the programmer, changing the way software is marketed.
Oct 1979 USA Texas Instruments releases the TI-99/4 microcomputer. This system generally used audio cassettes to store information, along with ROM modules, similar to gaming units, to hold commercial software. Additionally, TI made available a speech synthesizer, based on their own chip, for the TI-99/4 and its successor, the 4A.
1979 USA VisiCalc spreadsheet software released.[16]
1979 USA WordStar word processing software released.[16]
Nov 1979 USA Atari releases the Atari 400/800, a high-performance game-oriented home computer based on the 6502 microprocessor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lazarus, David (April 10, 1995). "'Japan's Edison' Is Country's Gadget King : Japanese Inventor Holds Record for Patent". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-21. 
  2. ^ YOSHIRO NAKAMATSU – THE THOMAS EDISON OF JAPAN, Stellarix Consultancy Services, 2015
  3. ^ Magnetic record sheet, Patent US3131937
  4. ^ 【Electrotechnical Laboratory】 ETL Mark I Relay-Based Automatic Computer, Information Processing Society of Japan
  5. ^ a b c d e Early Computers: Brief History, Information Processing Society of Japan
  6. ^ Martin Fransman (1993), The Market and Beyond: Cooperation and Competition in Information Technology, page 19, Cambridge University Press
  7. ^ Early Computers, Information Processing Society of Japan
  8. ^ a b 【Electrotechnical Laboratory】 ETL Mark III Transistor-Based Computer, Information Processing Society of Japan
  9. ^ Early Computers: Brief History, Information Processing Society of Japan
  10. ^ Parametron, Information Processing Society of Japan
  11. ^ Rojas, Rául; Hashagen, Ulf (2002). The First Computers: History and Architectures. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. p. 429. ISBN 0-262-68137-4. 
  12. ^ 【Electrotechnical Laboratory】 ETL Mark IV Transistor-Based Computer, Information Processing Society of Japan
  13. ^ a b 【Hitachi and Japanese National Railways】 MARS-1, Information Processing Society of Japan
  14. ^ 【Electrotechnical Laboratory】 ETL Mark IV A Transistor-Based Computer, Information Processing Society of Japan
  15. ^ 【Kyoto University,Toshiba】 KT-Pilot, Information Processing Society of Japan
  16. ^ a b c Matthew Kirschenbaum (July 2013), "10 Most Influential Software Programs Ever", Slate, USA 
  17. ^ Toshiba "Toscal" BC-1411 Desktop Calculator
  18. ^ http://www.vintagecalculators.com/html/casio_al-1000.html
  19. ^ Lidz, Franz (December 2012). "Dr. NakaMats, the Man With 3300 Patents to His Name". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved October 15, 2014. 
  20. ^ Hornyak, Tim (January 2002). "Dr. NakaMats: Japan's Self-Proclaimed Savior". Japan Inc. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  21. ^ Stefan Betschon: Der Zauber des Anfangs - Schweizer Computerpioniere. In: Ingenieure bauen die Schweiz. Franz Betschon et al. (editors), pp. 376–399, Verlag Neue Zuercher Zeitung, Zurich 2013, ISBN 978-3-03823-791-4
  22. ^ Klatt, D (1987). "Review of text-to-speech conversion for English". Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. 82 (3): 737–93. doi:10.1121/1.395275. 
  23. ^ a b c Federico Faggin, The Making of the First Microprocessor, IEEE Solid-State Circuits Magazine, Winter 2009, IEEE Xplore
  24. ^ a b Nigel Tout. "The Busicom 141-PF calculator and the Intel 4004 microprocessor". Retrieved November 15, 2009. 
  25. ^ Aspray, William (1994-05-25). "Oral-History: Tadashi Sasaki". Interview #211 for the Center for the History of Electrical Engineering. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  26. ^ "Auf den Spuren der deutschen Computermaus" [In the footsteps of the German computer mouse] (in German). Heise Verlag. 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  27. ^ "Telefunken's 'Rollkugel'". oldmouse.com. 
  28. ^ "SIG-100 video terminal and mouse". 
  29. ^ Rick Bensene. "Sharp QT-8D Electronic Calculator". The Old Calculator Web Museum. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  30. ^ "Sharp History — 1969–1970: From Senri to Tenri". SHARP World. Sharp Corporation. Retrieved September 30, 2010. 
  31. ^ Nigel Tout. "Sharp QT-8D "micro Compet"". Vintage Calculators Web Museum. Retrieved September 29, 2010. 
  32. ^ a b Paul Ford (April 2014), The Great Works of Software – via Medium 
  33. ^ Nigel Tout. "Sharp QT-8B "micro Compet"". Vintage Calculators Web Museum. Retrieved October 2, 2010. 
  34. ^ Toshiba "Toscal" BC-1411 Desktop Calculator
  35. ^ Joerg Woerner. "Sharp EL-8". Datamath Calculator Museum. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  36. ^ John Wolff. "Sharp EL-8 and EL-8M Portable Calculators". John Wolff's Web Museum. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  37. ^ "The one-chip calculator is here, and it's only the beginning", Electronic Design, February 18, 1971, p. 34
  38. ^ "The man who made 'the world's first personal computer'", BBC News, 6 November 2015 
  39. ^ a b Cornell University Library (2003). "Digital Preservation and Technology Timeline". Digital Preservation Management. USA. Retrieved August 2015.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  40. ^ a b 【Sord】 SMP80/x series, Information Processing Society of Japan
  41. ^ a b IBM Archives
  42. ^ Friedl, Paul J. (November 1983). "SCAMP: The Missing Link In The PC's Past?". PC. pp. 190–197. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  43. ^ Kasco and the Electro-Mechanical Golden Age (Interview), Classic Videogame Station ODYSSEY, 2001
  44. ^ Video Game Firsts, The Golden Age Arcade Historian (November 22, 2013)
  45. ^ Basketball Flyer (1974), Arcade Flyer Museum
  46. ^ Bill Loguidice & Matt Barton (2009), Vintage games: an insider look at the history of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the most influential games of all time, p. 197, Focal Press, ISBN 0-240-81146-1
  47. ^ "8080bw". MAME. 
  48. ^ "mw8080bw". MAME. 
  49. ^ "Space Invaders". Computer Archeology. 
  50. ^ see 6502 microprocessor history
  51. ^ a b Gordon Reid (Nov 2004). "The History Of Roland Part 1: 1930-1978". Sound On Sound. Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  52. ^ Yellow Magic Orchestra – Yellow Magic Orchestra at Discogs
  53. ^ Ryuichi Sakamoto – Thousand Knives Of (CD) at Discogs
  54. ^ Steven Weyhrich (28 December 2001). "Apple II History Chapter 5, The Disk II". Retrieved 27 November 2008. 
  55. ^ Christopher Null (April 2007), "50 Best Tech Products of All Time", PC World, USA 
  56. ^ 【Sord】 M200 Smart Home Computer Series, Information Processing Society of Japan
  57. ^ https://github.com/mamedev/mame/tree/master/src/mame/video/galaxian.cpp
  58. ^ http://www.vasulka.org/archive/Writings/VideogameImpact.pdf#page=25
  59. ^ a b http://www.glitterberri.com/developer-interviews/how-the-famicom-was-born/making-the-famicom-a-reality/
  60. ^ https://github.com/mamedev/mame/tree/master/src/mame/drivers/galaxian.cpp
  61. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140103070737/mamedev.org/source/src/mame/drivers/galdrvr.c.html
  62. ^ a b Tetsuji Oguchi; Misao Higuchi; Takashi Uno; Michiori Kamaya; Munekazu Suzuki (February 1981). "A Single-chip Graphic Display Controller" (PDF). International Solid State Circuit Conference. IEEE: 170–171. doi:10.1109/ISSCC.1981.1156160. 
  63. ^ uPD7220/uPD7220A User Manual, December 1985
  64. ^ F.Robert A. Hopgood, Roger J. Hubbold, David A. Duce, eds. (1986). Advances in Computer Graphics II. Springer. p. 169. ISBN 9783540169109. Perhaps the best known one is the NEC 7220. 
  65. ^ Norman Einspruch (2012), VLSI Handbook, page 728, Academic Press
  66. ^ F.Robert A. Hopgood, Roger J. Hubbold, David A. Duce, eds. (1986). Advances in Computer Graphics II. Springer. p. 169. ISBN 9783540169109. Perhaps the best known one is the NEC 7220. 

External links[edit]