This Week in Computer History
Originally posted on wibc.com on 06/25/2012
June 21, 1981
IBM Retires Last “STRETCH” Supercomputer
IBM retired its last “STRETCH” mainframe, part of the 7000 series that represented the company’s first transistorized computers. At the top of the line of computers — all of which emerged significantly faster and more dependable than vacuum tube machines — sat the 7030, or “STRETCH.” Seven of the computers, which featured a 64-bit word architecture and other innovations, were sold to national laboratories and other scientific users. L. R. Johnson first used the term “architecture” in describing the STRETCH.
June 23, 1912
Computer pioneer Alan Turing is Born
Turing, a British mathematician, logician and cryptanalyst, played key roles in the conception and theoretical underpinnings of electronic computers. As a codebreaker at Bletchley Park in the U.K. during WWII, Turing led the team that cracked the ‘unbreakable’ Enigma code used by the German high command for battlefield communications. This has led some observers to speculate that Turing’s work alone shortened the war by two years, savings many lives. Turing is best-known today for his work on the idea of a ‘universal computer,’ one that could run any program. This has since become known as a “Turing Machine.” Turing apparently committed suicide by eating a cyanide-laced apple in 1954. He was 43.
June 25, 1981
Microsoft incorporated. Founded six years earlier by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft grew out of the friends’ development of BASIC for the MITS Altair home computer kit. With later successes in its Windows operating system and software such as Word and Excel, Microsoft has grown to dominance in the personal computer software industry and billions of dollars of revenue.