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‘The Machine That Changed the World’: ACM and the History of Computing, 1947-2010

"We believe there is ample interest to start an informal association of many of those interested in the new machinery for computing and reasoning. Since there has to be a beginning, we are acting as a temporary committee to start such an association."

                    -Notice on Organization of an "Eastern Association for Computing Machinery," June 25, 1947.

Since its inception in 1947, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has grown from a local organization of 52 individuals to a worldwide educational and scientific computing society of over 95,000 members. According to its website, ACM "is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to advancing the art, science, engineering, and application of information technology, serving both professional and public interests by fostering the open interchange of information and by promoting the highest professional and ethical standards."

The ACM Records, donated to the Charles Babbage Institute by ACM’s Headquarters office in 2008, contain 57 boxes of information about ACM’s administration, operations, and projects and tell the story of the society’s development and expansion over the first 60 years of its existence. Focusing on many of the key aspects of the work of the association, this exhibit pulls together documentary and visual evidence of ACM’s activities from the organization’s records as well as from supporting collections.

Credits

The Charles Babbage Institute would like to thank the Association for Computing Machinery for its generous support of this exhibition. Further thanks to Greta Bahnemann for her volunteer help in creating this exciting online exhibit.