Anthony J. Pennings, PhD

WRITINGS ON DIGITAL STRATEGIES, ICT ECONOMICS, AND GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

ARPA and the Formation of the Modern Computer Industry, Part 2: Memex, Personal Computing, and the NSF

With World War II winding down, President Roosevelt asked Vannevar Bush, his “czar” of all federally funded scientific research, for a set of recommendations on the application of the lessons learned during the war. The President was particularly interested in how the scientific and technological advances achieved in the war effort could improve issues like […]

ARPA and the Formation of the Modern Computer Industry, Part I: Transforming SAGE

Under pressure because of the USSR’s continuous rocket launches, the Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower set up ARPA despite considerable Congressional and military dissent. Although it scaled back some of its original goals, ARPA went on to subsidize the creation of computer science departments throughout the country, funded the Internet, and consistently supported projects that enhanced human/computer interactivity.

The MAD Origins of the Computer Age

It was the “missile gap” that would impregnate Silicon Valley with the purpose and capital to grow to its famed stature as the center of computer innovation in the world. During the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, when Robert S. McNamara was Secretary of Defense, the US undertook an enormous military buildup, with the intercontinental missile […]

How IT Came to Rule the World, 1.9: Xerox PARC

The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) was sent up by Xerox in 1970 to establish leadership in the “architecture of information”, a sufficiently vague but enticing term coined by Xerox CEO Peter McColough. Drawing on Xerox’s great wealth, PARC harvested the fruits of ARPA’s continuous funding by hiring one of their former directors and by recruiting some of computer science’s top researchers. At PARC, Xerox developed the Alto and the Star, personalized computers with a GUI interface, mouse, and even Ethernet data networking. These PARC innovations inspired companies like Apple, Cisco and 3Com to develop new technologies like the Macintosh and data routers.

How IT Came to Rule the World, 2.3: Data Packets for Dollars

Using the new X.25 series of packet-switching protocols embraced by the ITU, banks developed extensive international networks and clearinghouse systems to offer information services for the movement of credit information and money and to settle accounts. The supranational fund of electronic eurodollars that emerged out of the OPEC surpluses of the 1970s’ oil crises an provided an important step to the global Internet as the packet-switched technology was implemented in banking networks to coordinate the resultant flows of international currency exchange and debt.

How IT Came to Rule the World, 1.7

The problems encountered in reconciling these different data transmission systems operating in different networks led to the Internetting Project and the development of a new data communications protocol that would link different computers operating on different computer networks.

How IT Came to Rule the World, 1.5: ARPA and NASA

After the USSR shocked the world in 1956 with its Sputnik satellite, the US took two major actions that would converge later in the modern Internet as well as a wide range of other technologies, including the microprocessor and the personal computer.

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  • About Me

    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.

    You can reach me at:

    apennings70@gmail.com
    anthony.pennings@sunykorea.ac.kr

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    The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employers, past or present.