[SIGCIS-Members] petroleum and computers

Scott Campbell sm2campb at uwaterloo.ca
Tue Sep 14 07:05:23 PDT 2010

For what it's worth with regards to the Canadian situation, although
the petroleum industry (particularly Imperial Oil) showed very early
interest in the 1950s in computing, it was never dominant consumer of
computers/computing resources. I don't think the early work was even
related to petroleum seeking, but an inventory control system. We
certainly didn't have much of an aerospace industry in Canada. Here
the power users throughout the 1960s with the big machines were
finance (banking and insurance) and to a lesser degree, governments.


On Mon, Sep 13, 2010 at 18:47, Deborah Douglas <ddouglas at mit.edu> wrote:
> Colleagues,
> Recently, I received a question about a claim that the petroleum-seeking
> geophysics industry was once the greatest consumer of computers, only
> surpassed at some later point by the federal government.  No citation was
> given and there is quite a bit of skepticism but where would you advise us
> to look to refute this claim (or perhaps my own aerospace bias is too strong
> and the claim is true!).
> Thanks,
> Debbie Douglas
> Deborah G. Douglas, Ph.D.
> Curator of Science and Technology
> MIT Museum, N51-209
> 265 Massachusetts Avenue
> Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
> ddouglas at mit.edu •  617-253-1766 phone  •  617-253-8994 fax
> http://web.mit.edu/museum  •  http://webmuseum.mit.edu> http://museum.mit.edu/150
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