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The Origins and Early History of Computer Engineering in the United States
July-Sept. 2013 (vol. 35 no. 3)
pp. 6-18
This article examines the origins and early history of the field of computer engineering in the United States, from the mid-1940s to mid-1950s. The account is based on both primary and secondary sources and draws theory from technology studies and the sociology of professions. The author begins by discussing roles played by engineers and engineering during the development of some of the first high-speed digital computers. He then describes the efforts of two electrical engineering institutes as they staked claims in computing, followed by a discussion of bifurcated versus integrated visions for the new field. In the final sections, the article turns to the emergence and establishment of computer engineering as a distinct field or specialty, primarily in the context of professional societies and private-sector firms. One main goal of this article is to show how the jurisdiction of engineering expanded to include computer hardware design.
Index Terms:
Computers,Electrical engineering,History,Hardware,Computational modeling,computing profession,history of computing,computer engineering,computer engineers,electrical engineering,hardware
Citation:
"The Origins and Early History of Computer Engineering in the United States," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 6-18, July-Sept. 2013, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2013.2
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