Anthony J. Pennings, PhD


How IT Came to Rule the World, 1.6

Posted on | April 2, 2010 | No Comments

This is the 11th post in the mini-series How IT Came to Rule the World

1.6 Further Cold War tensions in the 1960s sparked additional innovation in the microelectronics industry as the MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) defense policy transformed California’s “Silicon Valley” into the center of the military’s miniaturization revolution. A combination of Congressional politics

Apollo Guidance Computer used the first integrated circuits

Apollo Guidance Computer

and industrial economics led to the shift of electronics research and production from the US East Coast to the West Coast. Minuteman missiles utilized transistors developed by Bell Labs and then commercialized by Western start-ups who created the small silicon-based computing “chips” for their guidance systems. Combined with NASA’s Gemini and Apollo projects, the first major markets were created for integrated circuits or ICs, a crucial innovation for computing. NASA’s Apollo Guidance Computer (APC) was the first computer to use the new innovation. ICs combined several transistors on a single silicon chip and required extensive oversight and support from the government to ensure the high levels of quality needed for manned space flights and guidance of intercontinental thermonuclear missiles.



Anthony J. Pennings, PhD has been on the NYU faculty since 2001 teaching digital media, information systems management, and global communications.


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    Professor at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea since 2016. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, digital economics, and strategic communications.

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