[SIGCIS-Members] history of history of computing courses

Paul N. Edwards pedwards at stanford.edu
Mon Jan 29 17:11:52 PST 2018

My early course lectures also drew heavily on the Williams book, and on articles from the Annals of the History of Computing.

In the first couple of years I used Stan Augarten’s nicely illustrated large-format book Bit by Bit as a textbook. It’s journalistic history, with flaws and misunderstandings, but accessible for undergrads.

The Campbell-Kelly/Aspray/Yost/Ensmenger text has been immensely valuable. I’ve been using that as the main textbook for the last 15 years  now.



On Jan 29, 2018, at 09:13, Brian L. Stuart <blstuart at bellsouth.net<mailto:blstuart at bellsouth.net>> wrote:

I can speak to the Rhodes College course since that one was
mine.  We only ran it once, but I thought it was a lot of fun.
I can probably find my old syllabus if it would help, but there
wasn't a huge amount of detail in it.  Like the Purdue course
I mentioned in another message, I used Williams book as
my primary text.

More recently, I've run a similar course here at Drexel University.
I'm hoping to eventually make that one a regular offering.

In both cases, the the primary focus was on the hardware,
architecture, and similar technical factors.  Software got
about 10-20% of the time, and a similar amount of time
was devoted to the development of theory.  The cultural/
societal aspects only really appeared in the context of my
lectures as background to the technical developments.  For
the more recent version, the assignments that I found the
most fun to assign were writing a little bit of PDP-8 machine
code (and I let them run it on an 8/M I've restored), "writing"
a simple task on the ENIAC which they ran on my simulator,
and writing a simulator for some early machine, with the
Manchester Baby probably being the most popular choice.


On Mon, 1/29/18, Janet Abbate <abbate at vt.edu<mailto:abbate at vt.edu>> wrote:

Also, he has a website last updated in 1998 (http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/courses.html)
that lists these courses at various universities:
- University of Warwick CS330: History of Computing
- University of Calgary, CPSC 509
- American University, CSIS 64.550 History of Computing
- Stanford University STS 161 -- History of Computers.
- Virginia Tech, CS 3604 Professionalism in Computing (contains a
section on history).  [J.A.N.’s own course]
- Rhodes  College, CS 465: Topics in Computer Science Computer
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Paul N. Edwards
William J. Perry Fellow in International Security
Center for International Security and Cooperation<http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/>
Stanford University

Professor of Information<http://www.si.umich.edu/> and History<http://www.lsa.umich.edu/history/>
University of Michigan

m: pedwards at stanford.edu<mailto:pedwards at stanford.edu>
w: pne.people.si.umich.edu<http://pne.people.si.umich.edu/>
t: @AVastMachine

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