See also : Chronology of communication before electricity,
A Chronology of Communication from electricity to electronics,
A Convoluted History of Early Telecommunications.

1941- Konrad Zuse constructs first fully operational binary computer for the German Experimental Dynamics Institute (GEDI), the Z3. His first two prototypes are electromechanical with stored- program capability. Magnetic recording tape developed soon after.

1943- British Department of Communications and the Foreign Office construct Colossus, with the help of Alan Turing to decipher the German ENIGMA electromechanical encoders which were Allies main hope at shortening World War II. Turing had published in 1936, at age 24, a paper entitled "On Computable Numbers" which had established some of the foundations Digital Stored Program computing. Development of ENIAC begins, for use in calculating missle trajectory projections.

1944- Harvard Mark I (a.k.a. the IBM Sequenced Controlled Calculator) unveiled by Howard Aiken. Aiken, in '36, had been writing his dissertation on the physics of vacuum tubes, when he read Turing's paper on the possibilities offered by a Turing machine. Colossus also under development.

1945- The first modern stored memory computer is designed by Johann von Neumann, John Presper Eckert, and John Maucly. Maucly is later targeted during the Communist trials led by Senator John McCarthy, and he ends up on the blacklist.

1946- Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania complete ENIAC, a room-sized computer consisting of 10,000 high-speed vacuum tubes.

1947- The transistor is invented at Bell Telephone Laboratories.

1948- Dennis Gabor, a Hungarian-born scientist, invents holography; in 1971 he receives the Nobel Prize for his invention. Claude Shannon publishes his "A mathematical theory of communication", seen as the founding work of information theory, which establishes models for noise, distortion and error correction in information technology.

1949- In the U.S., there are 1,000,000 television receivers in use. The 10,000,000 mark is passed in 1951, and the 50,000,000 mark eight years later. Other developed nations reach these levels of penetration soon after.

1951- UNIVAC constructed by Remington- Rand, 46 of the machines are sold.

1952- The first numerical control machine tool is demonstrated at MIT.

c. 1952- The Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system for U.S. air defense is developed at MIT. It is the first computer network. That same year, Grace Murray Hopper, working with John Presper Eckert and John Maucly on the UNIVAC project, writes the first complier software. Thomas Watson Jr. becomes president of IBM and launches all-out push into computer markets. UNIVAC is used to predict the results of the presidential election on a live CBS news special; the prediction is correct.

1954- Color television broadcasting in the United States, several years after the first experimental broadcasts; the technology is adopted in Japan in 1960. The microprocessor is developed.

c. 1957- First fully automated guidance system used on missiles. USSR launch Sputnik (with Laika the dog). Seymour Cray establish Control Data Corporation to build a supercomputer for scientific use.

1958 - Bell develops the first modem for data transmission. The US launches Explorer, and so the Space Race has begun. Texas Instruments begins developing the integrated circuit.

1960- The Haloid Xerox Company introduces the plain-paper copier, based on a process invented by Chester F. Carlson. The photocopier rapidly revolutionizes office practices and makes carbon paper outdated. Laser technology develops.

c. 1960- Libraries begin to use on-line public access catalogs (OPAC), which begin to replace card catalogues.

1961- The publication of Merriam-Webster's Third International Dictionary creates a furor in the United States when the dictionary is charged with abandoning prescriptive judgments of correctness in favor of neutral linguistic description. The first programmable industrial robot installed, for unloading of parts at die-casting operation.

1962- Western Union introduces the telex to the United States. The first modem introduced in the United States marketed by the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T). Theoretical foundation for packet switching laid down by Rand Corporation researcher Paul Baran in his paper "On Distributed Communications Networks."

1962- The first communication satellite, Telstar, is put into orbit for use by American companies. The first trans-Atlantic television broadcast is made in this year.

1963- ATT offers push-button dialing to its consumers. ZIP code standards instituted to facilitate local sorting and delivery of post in United States. On November 24, accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald is being transferred to a jail cell when he is fatally shot by Jack Ruby. The assassination is witnessed by millions of people on live television. MIT develops time sharing of computer resources.

1964 - Marshall McLuhan publishes Understanding Media. IBM develops first word processor, the TapeSelectric.

c. 1965- The basis of virtual reality technology emerges in simulators that teach pilots how to fly planes by using head-mounted displays with tracking systems. Ted Nelson develops hypertext idea for linking documents.

1966- ASCII (the American Standard Code for Information Exchange) is established as a standard data-transmission code that converts characters into seven-digit binary numbers.

1968- Douglas Engelbart demonstrates first computer mouse, hypertext, and WYSIWYG ("What you see is what you get") display of text. The British Library and Library of Congress collaborate on a new system of cataloging library collections, Machine-Readable Cataloging Project, known since its revision in 1968 as MARC II. Garmish International Software Conference in Germany addresses what is termed the Software Crisis, following the failure of IBM OS/360 - software engineering and structured design methodology are established.

1969- The Department of Defense establishes the Arpanet, predecessor of the Internet with four host machines. Sony Corporation introduces the videocasette recorder. Telnet program written. First 1 Kb RAM chip.

c. 1970- American banks introduce electronic teller machines. UNIX developed at Bell, by 1985 it runs on 300,000 machines worldwide. The phrase 'information superhighway' is coined in The Nation magazine, though at the time they were referring to cable TV infrastructure.

1971- Introduction of the laser printer, which makes possible high quality computer graphics and desktop publishing. ARPANET now consists of 15 nodes.

1971- The Intel corporation introduces the world's first microprocessor, which combines the electrical functions once performed as many as 500,000 transistors on a single chip. Ray Tomlinson writes early email programs SNDMSG and CRYNET.

1972- Introduction of C, the first widely adopted general-purpose high-level programming language. Xerox introduces the Alto, the first computer with a bit-mapped screen, windows, and a mouse, which becomes the model for Apple Macintosh and other personal computers. The first electronic mail system introduced. 40 nodes now on ARPANET, Intel develops 16 KB chip. Atari releases Pong- which is sweet.

1973- The grocery industry adopts Universal Product Code, making possible the use of bar codes for pricing and inventory. control. Robert Metcalfe outlines LAN and Ethernet architecture in his doctoral thesis at Harvard; he founds 3Com Inc. in 1979.

1976- Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak found Apple Computer Inc., the first company devoted to selling personal computers. The spacecraft Viking 1 orbits Mars and relays photographs of the Martian landscape to Earth. BASIC released by Microsoft.

1977- Apple and Radio Shack introduce the first widely successful pre-assembled personal computers, Apple II and Tandy TRS-80. Commodore PET also released, which sells for $600 US. (1st 'puter I played with). IBM follows with its PC in 1981. RSA encryption proposed by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman, the first public key scheme, based on the work of Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman in 1975. First computer BBS is being tested in Chicago.

1979- The Xerox Corporation introduces Ethernet software, which becomes the standard computer intercommunications network. First MUD is established by two computer students at Essex University. Laserdisc players first hit market. MicroNet goes on-line, which will later morph into CompuServe. Compact disc players developed and cellular phones first marketed.

1982- RSA Data Security Inc. established. The Gannet company begins publishing USA Today, the United States' first national, general-interest newspaper. Introduction of the spreadsheet program Lotus 1-2-3, the "killer application" that ensures wide popularity of personal computers. TCP/IP developed at the technical standard for remote network connectivity. Hayes Microcomputers sells the Smartmodem 300, IBM sells a 64K RAM machine for $3000. Disney releases TRON. AT&T broken up by US court order.

1984- Apple Macintosh and GUI interface are unleashed upon the world. William Gibson coins 'cyberspace' in Neuromancer. 2400 baud modem costs $850. 1000 nodes now on ARPANET.

1985- The IRS initiates computerized auditing of tax returns. Lucasfilm's Habitat for the Commodore 64 becomes the first graphical online game environment. The WELL on-line community is established and has 5000 members by 1991, when it switches to the Internet.

1989- Tim Berners-Lee and his colleagues at CERN create the first Web browser, based on the HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which standardizes communication between server and client. Robert T. Morris, from Cornell University spreads the first Internet worm program which disables 6,000 host computers, 10% of the entire network at the time. The same year, Kevin Mitnick is convicted of computer fraud after hacking into DEC and copying software.

1990- Start of the project of mapping the location of all genes on every chromosome in human beings, the Human Genome Project. Developement of the WWW begins at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland using URL, HTTP and HTML.

1991- The Cable News Network (CNN) is created in by Ted Turner. The network gains worldwide attention for its around-the-clock coverage, much of it broadcast from Iraq, of the Persian Gulf War. Phil Zimmerman distributes PGP fearing a US Senate Bill which may ban the software in the US. Linus Torvalds from Helsinki begins work on Linux. Gopher browser software put in use.

1993- Marc Andreessen and others at the University of Illinois release Mosaic, a graphical Web browser that becomes widely popular and is the model for browsers from Netscape and Microsoft. Domain name registration established. Bill Clinton introduces Clipper Chip and key-escrow proposals. The next year, Matt Blaze busts the Clipper Chips encryption, forcing the government to abandon it.

1995-First major domain name lawsuit after Sprint registers Open-source Apache server software becomes the most popular in the world. Release of Disney's Toy Story, the first full-length computer-generated feature film. Yahoo now well-established. Kevin Mitnick, after three years on the run for computer crime, is arrested and sentenced to three years in prison.

1996- Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates becomes the world's richest person. In the U. S., the Telecommunications Act of 1996 authorizes subsidies for information technology to libraries and schools, but also accompanies the Communications Decency Law, which the Supreme Court soon rejects as unconsitutional. Digital Copyright Treaty is signed by members of the World Intellectual Property Organization The provision of universal access the Internet becomes a policy goal a number of nations.

1997- The IBM computer Deep Thought defeats world champion Gary Kasparov in a chess match. The World Wide Web site for the Mars Pathfinder space probe receives 220 million hits when it publishes pictures of the mission, a total that far exceeds NASA's expectations. Major new libraries are opened in London, Paris, and New York containing extensive computational facilities.

1998- XML proposed as HTML sucessor. Starr Report into the Lewinsky Scandal is released on-line. Linux goes all the rage. The on-line bookseller becomes the world's largest book retailer as measured by market capitalization. The Internet craze sends the stocks in other Internet-related businesses to unprecedented highs.