[SIGCIS-Members] IBM 610

Allan Olley allan.olley at utoronto.ca
Wed Mar 2 16:11:06 PST 2016

 	The 610 was under development as the Personal Automatic Computer 
(acording to this website and according to Bashe et al. in the MIT book 
IBM's Early Computer, a prototype was operating by 1954 with commercial 
release by 1957) it was intended as a more real time less batch 
modey sort of machine unlike other machines of that time, but no one 
really seriously seems to claim it has any relation to any other 
"personal computer" either in terms of hardware details (it apparently 
had very ideosyncratic hardware) or even as vague inspiration.
 	The key point I guess is that it pretty clearly has nothing 
to do with the microprocessor based computers of the 1970s and later that 
are usually called personal computers.

 	I have noticed that the idea of a personal computer and personal 
computing gets used to describe	machines before the microprocessor 
machines of the 1970s. The website mentions the Bendix G-15 as another 
example of this (some apparently claim it as the first personal 
computer and it was released commercially in 1956). The issue here is that 
any computer an individual has complete control of regardless of its 
characteristics (size, intended use etc.) can become a personal computer 
in terms of how that user feels about it and interacts with it. So any 
computer can be a personal computer in that ambigious sense it seems to 
me. It also gets complicated because people's interactions with earlier 
transistor and vacuum tube machines influenced them in designing and 
using the microprocessor machines that are unambigiously personal 
computers. So there are connections that should be made that make it 

Yours Truly,
Allan Olley, PhD


On Wed, 2 Mar 2016, John Impagliazzo wrote:

> Hi All,
> Allegedly, some consider the IBM 610 Auto-Point computer (1959) the
> ‘first personal computer’. 
> http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/plugboard.html
> Is this true – even slightly true??
> John
> John Impagliazzo, Ph.D.
> Professor Emeritus, Hofstra University
> IEEE Life Fellow
> ACM Distinguished Educator

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