Computer history - 1956

Updated: 11/12/2023 by Computer Hope

Major computer events in 1956

Two IBM 305 RAMAC computers

On September 13, 1956, the IBM 305 RAMAC (random-access method of accounting and control) was the first computer shipped with a hard drive. The hard drive contained 50 24-inch platters, could store 5 million characters, and weighed a ton.

New computer products and services introduced in 1956

The programming language FORTRAN (Formula Translation) was introduced to the public on October 15, 1956.

Dr. Robert Adler of Zenith invented the first cordless TV remote control in 1956.

IBM announced an electronic "reading" device for electric typewriters and an electronic input-output device to automatically type work done by computers.

The programming language IPL (Information Processing Language) was created in 1956 by Herbert Simon, John Cliff Shaw, and Allen Newell.

Wen Tsing Chow developed PROM (programmable read-only memory).

Computer and technology-related events in 1956

John von Neumann was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Dwight Eisenhower on February 15, 1956.

Werner Buchholz coined the term byte in 1956.

The TX-O (Transistorized Experimental computer) and the first transistorized computer was demonstrated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their work on the transistor in 1956.

Joseph Weizenbaum worked for General Electric on ERMA (Electronic Recording Machine, Accounting), a computer system that introduced magnetically-encoded fonts imprinted on the bottom border of checks. This invention allowed automated check processing via MICR (magnetic ink character recognition).

Arthur L. Samuel at IBM programs an IBM 704 to play checkers using a method where the machine can "learn" from its own experience. It is believed that Samual checkers-playing program is the first "self-learning" program, a demonstration of the concept of artificial intelligence, using one of the first software hash tables.

The term parasocial relationship was coined by sociologists Donald Horton and Richard Wohl in their 1956 article "Mass Communication and Para-Social Interaction."

Computer companies and organizations founded in 1956

Calcomp was founded in 1956.

Polyflon was founded in 1956.

Discontinued products and services in 1956

The ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) ended its operation in 1956.

Computer pioneers born in 1956

Guido van Rossum

Guido van Rossum was born on January 31, 1956.

Mark McCahill was born on February 7, 1956.

Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov was born on March 14, 1956.

Steve Ballmer was born on March 24, 1956.

Kane Kramer was born on April 23, 1956.

Jim Ellis was born on May 6, 1956.

Tim Paterson was born on June 1, 1956.

Drew Major was born on June 17, 1956.

Mark Crispin was born on July 19, 1956.

Meg Whitman was born on August 4, 1956.

Leo Laporte was born on November 29, 1956.

Steve Kirsch was born on December 24, 1956.

Brian Moriarty was born in 1956.

Dov Moran was born in 1956.

Robert Pike was born in 1956.

Computer pioneer deaths in 1956

Thomas Watson

Thomas J. Watson, Sr. passed away on June 19, 1956 (Age: 82).

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