Synopsis by Alice Duncan
This is the first volume of the six-part Computer Revolution video series, which explores the origins and development of computers, discusses important innovations (up to 1990, when the documentary was made), and considers the computer's place in the world and its effects on people's work and lives. In this program, the computer's history is traced from the early prototype built by John von Neumann through the days of gargantuan machines that filled entire rooms to the development of many kinds of smaller desktop computers now commonly used in homes and offices. Other featured topics include the building of ENIAC ("Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer") at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Electrical Engineering, the "Williams tube" and other memory devices, the UNIVAC, the involvement of IBM in the business computer field, and the science of microchips and processors. Also discussed are the basic theory of computers, mathematical theory versus technical feasibility, and the changing needs of the computer industry. Other programs in the series include Growing Power, Shrinking Size, High Speed/High Performance, Data as Power, The Next Frontier, and Artificial Intelligence, Real Problems.