Thomas Haigh and Paul E. Ceruzzi, "A New History of Modern Computing" (MIT Press, 2021)


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In A New History of Modern Computing (MIT Press, 2021), Thomas Haigh and Paul Ceruzzi trace changes leading to the computer becoming a ubiquitous technology. Over the past fifty years, the computer has been transformed from a hulking scientific super tool and data processing workhorse, remote from the experiences of ordinary people to a diverse family of devices that billions rely on to play games, shop, stream music, and movies, communicate, and count their steps. A comprehensive reimagining of Ceruzzi's A History of Modern Computing, this new volume uses each chapter to recount one such transformation, describing how a particular community of users and producers remade the computer into something new. Haigh and Ceruzzi ground their accounts of these computing revolutions in the longer and deeper history of computing technology. They begin with the story of the 1945 ENIAC computer, which introduced the vocabulary of "programs" and "programming," and proceed through email, pocket calculators, personal computers, the World Wide Web, videogames, smartphones, and our current world of computers everywhere--in phones, cars, appliances, watches, and more. Finally, they consider the Tesla Model S as an object that simultaneously embodies many strands of computing.

Dr. Thomas Haigh is a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Comenius Visiting Professor at Siegen University. He has been researching the history of computing for more than twenty years and is a past chair of SIGCIS, the group for historians of information technology. He is the lead author, with Mark Priestley and Crispin Rope, of ENIAC in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer, about the design, construction, and use of the first general-purpose programmable electronic computer, the ENIAC. His new book, with Paul Ceruzzi, is New History of Modern Computing: a comprehensive history of computing from ENIAC to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Austin Clyde is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago Department of Computer Science. He researches artificial intelligence and high-performance computing for developing new scientific methods. He is also a visiting research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Science, Technology, and Society program, where my research addresses the intersection of artificial intelligence, human rights, and democracy.

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