[SIGCIS-Members] SIGCIS 2013 report -- includes pictures and CHM Prize winner

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Fri Oct 25 13:35:28 PDT 2013

Hello SIGCIS members,


This is just a short note following the SIGCIS workshop earlier this month.
You may remember my earlier message covering the SIGCIS-sponsored sessions
and other related material on the main program.
http://sigcis.org/pipermail/members/2013-October/942792.html According to
SHOT's recent strategic study group, history of computing and information
technology is now the largest single area for SHOT presentations and they
covered a diverse range of topics.


The SIGCIS Lunch on Friday, the first full day of SHOT, was attended by
about 45 people including a good crop of new members. Pictures from the
lunch and several of the SIGCIS sponsored sessions are available at
995898184&type=1&l=9090ff3189> &type=1&l=9090ff3189. This is on Facebook but
no login or account is needed to see them.


SIGCIS raised $1,520 during the lunch, which I think is a record. This money
is used primarily to fund partial travel grants for graduate students. This
year we made awards totaling $2,600 to six students. Thanks to the
generosity of our members. In particular to MIT Press and Jim Cortada for
donating books for the auction and to Prof. Emeritus Richard Tedlow of the
Harvard Business School for funding two travel awards in the name of the
Computer History Museum.


We began the launch of Phase II of our Mahoney Fund campaign
http://www.sigcis.org/mahoney  with the objective of increasing the balance
from the current $14,000 or so to at least $20,000. This would allow the
fund to effectively endow  a new $500 annual prize for an outstanding
article in the history of computing, as well as its current role in
supporting awards for graduate student travel. As Mahoney made his
contribution to our field through articles this will be a particularly
fitting way to remember him. Look for more news on this front next month.


I also reminded everyone that the clock was now running on our transition to
chair-elect Andrew Russell, who will take over during the Friday lunch at
the 2014 SHOT meeting in Dearborn, Michigan. We have plans to make the 2014
workshop a little different, and are trying to engage with the various
communities studying coding, platforms, video games, etc. Planning is still
at a very early stage, but let me know if you would like to be involved in
this effort.


On Sunday, after the end of the main conference, we held our full day
workshop on "Old Ideas: Recomputing the History of Technology."
www.sigcis.org/workshop13. The opening plenary attracted more than 40
people, with others coming and going during the course of the day. Bill
Aspray's opening keynote on the "Many Histories of Information" was well
received, as was the closing plenary panel "An Ancient Continent as a New
Frontier: Discovering that Computing has a History in Asia".


Pictures from the workshop events are online (no login required) at
995898184&type=1&l=c859c6a734> &type=1&l=c859c6a734. If you are a Facebook
user then please "Like" our pictures and other material, as this provides an
important kind of publicity. We would also welcome your help in tagging
those you recognize on the pictures - I made a start on this but did not get


We presented the 2013 Computer History Museum Prize for an outstanding book
on the history of computing to Joseph November for his book Biomedical
Computing. http://www.sigcis.org/chmprize. According to the prize jury


In the mid-twentieth century, digital computers began to transform
biomedicine. In Biomedical Computing, Joseph November presents an original
and compelling account of the processes by which diverse communities in
biology and medicine came to embrace digital methods and machines.
Furthermore, while historians have demonstrated the influence of physical
sciences on early computing, November also demonstrates the forgotten ways
in which the demands of biomedical communities shaped computing. In addition
to bringing an often neglected scientific community into clear view for
historians of computing, Biomedical Computing establishes an important
dialogue with the history of science. While historians of technology and
business have found ample reason to study computing, Biomedical Computing
makes the computer--and thus the history of computing--relevant for science
and medicine audiences in general. We expect it to enjoy a broad readership,
and to inspire new kinds of computer history.


SIGCIS participants ate well in Portland. The IEEE History Committee and the
IEEE History Center kindly sponsored lunch for participants in the SIGCIS
workshop and other Sunday events, during which we had a chance to discuss
topics of interest around the history of engineering and engineering
education. After the workshop, a group of 22 historians headed out for our
relaxing dinner at nearby Local 188. This is always one of the highlights of
the meeting for me, as it gives a chance to chat with colleagues new and old
in a relaxed environment after my official duties have been discharged.


Thanks to all of you for your various contributions over the past few years
to the success of SIGCIS as most active SHOT interest group and an important
resource for historians of information technology around the world. I look
forward to welcoming you to Dearborn at our lunch next year. and then
placing you in Andy's capable hands for the rest of the meeting.


Best wishes,










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