Archival History of Computing at MIT, 1950–62
The MIT Digital Humanities Programs, together with the MIT Libraries Department of Distinctive Collections, have digitized and contextualized the majority of archived documents relating to the history of the
MIT Computation Center
from the 1950s and early 1960s.
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Social science research
The Letter Network
Take a look at the top contributors in the MIT Computation Center archives by seeing a visualization of who was writing the most, and to whom.
The Rise and Fall of Project Whirlwind
The development of the Whirlwind Project serves as a milestone in the computation history, as it was one of the first high-speed large-scale digital computers to be developed. However, there were many issues during the process of perfecting the machine that ended in its termination in 1959.
Behind the Scenes
How did undergraduates in 2019 immerse themselves in computation of the 1950s? Find out more here.
Women in Symbols
Although women’s contributions to the MIT Computation Center are not very visible in this archive’s external lab communications, some internal documents shed light on a piece of their work.
Cost of Using a Supercomputer
With an infinite amount of problems to solve and only one supercomputer, time usage for the Whirlwind 1 was limited. To actually use it, one would have to request time at rates up to $250/hour or $2400/hour when adjusted for inflation.
Digital Humanities: An Enduring Legacy
A time without digital humanities is a time long before commercial computers. Even at its earliest, when the hours of computation were meticulously counted and rationed, the investment of technology in the humanities thrived.