Introduction

Digital State_Book Cover

"To begin, this book makes a compelling case that the first distinctive computing industry took form in the Twin Cities. While other cities with significant early computing activity such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, and Endicott or Poughkeepsie in upstate New York were typically dominated by one or two large computing companies, in the Twin Cities an early pattern of "spin-offs" and "start-ups" created by the early 1960s at least thirty computing companies active in the state."

Drawing on rare archival documents, photographs, and a wealth of oral histories, Digital State unveils the remarkable story of computer development in the heartland after World War II. These decades found corporations- concentrated in large part in Minnesota- designing state-of-the-art mainframe technologies, revolutionizing new methods of magnetic data storage, and, for the first time, truly integrating software and hardware into valuable products for the American government and public. Minnesota-based companies such as Engineering Reseach Associates, Univac, Control Data, Cray Research, Honeywell, and IBM Rochester were major international players, and together formed an unrivaled epicenter advancing digital technologies. Thomas J Misa's groundbreaking history shows how Minnesota recognized and embraced the coming information age through its leading-edge companies, is workforce, and its prominent institutions. Digital State reveals the inner workings of teh birth of the digital age in Minnesota and shows what we can learn from this era of sustained innovation.

 

Digital Exhibit arranged by A.J. Gerick

Introduction