[Humanist] 29.434 the computing centre

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Oct 30 08:34:41 CET 2015

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 434.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2015 09:56:56 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: envisioning the computing centre

Vannevar Bush seems to have been among the first, if not the first, to 
envision what later became the computing centre. Then Professor of 
Electrical Power Transmission at the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology, Bush wrote about his Integraph (predecessor of the 
Differential Analyzer), in the Tech Engineering News in 1928, vol. 9, 
and went on to comment,

> An accurate, comprehensive machine of this sort is inherently
> expensive, and hence we will see few such machines built for some
> time. Rather it is to be expected that there will be a few centers
> where work of this sort will be carried on, and where such devices
> will be available to those who can use them to advantage.

Does this remain a question of economics only? What have we lost (or 
what has resurfaced in other forms) with the passing of the time when to 
compute you had to walk a distance and enter a great place of hulking, 
noisy machinery?

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Digital Humanities Research
Group, University of Western Sydney

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