Making The History Of Computing Relevant

Displaying and examining the remains of old mainframe and mini-computers is of considerable interest to those who were involved in building or using them. For others, displays or descriptions of this technology are of little relevance or are difficult to engage with. Many people have a modest appreciation of how electronic digital computing has developed over the last 70 years but they understand (or care) little about details of the configurations of these machines or how they differ from modern computers. How can we turn our histories into a form that people today can understand and appreciate?

The aim of this conference is to discuss what needs to be done to make the history of computing relevant and interesting to the general public today. It is to discuss how we can display the meaning of computing. Would shifting the emphasis from the technology itself to how it was used make a difference? What about stories about the designers, builders and users of these computers? Would the use of replicas, re-builds or simulations make this history more interesting? What lessons does this history tell us about the possible future of the digital revolution? The conference aims to consider some of these issues.

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For more information please email research@sciencemuseum.ac.uk