Historical reflections: Computing is history

Thomas J. Misa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


There have been many books that relates computing to history. Subrata Dasgupta's It Began with Babbage: The Genesis of Computer Science is one of them. Two recent books further suggest that computing is historically grounded. Peter Denning and Craig Martell's Great Principles of Computing2 builds on Denning's 30-year quest to identify and codify principles as the essence of computing. In Great Principles the closer the authors get to cutting-edge science, the less their findings resemble the science- fair model of hypothesis, data collection, and analysis. The ACM History Committee, created in 2004, has just launched a major oral-history initiative to ensure there are interviews with each of the 42 living Turing laureates, creating a compelling video record. These oral histories, continued year by year, will complement the ongoing work on the Turing website, overseen now by Thomas Haigh. The History Committee connects the ACM membership with professional historians of computing. Committee members represent research centers and museums, libraries and academic departments, industry and government laboratories, and varied ACM committees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-37
Number of pages3
JournalCommunications of the ACM
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


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