Wednesday, June 15, 2011

100 years of IBM's cheese cutting die in graphene

On 16 June 1911, Charles Flint Ranlett four companies merged to form Computing Tabulating-Recording Company, or CTR, which will be renamed International Business Machines or IBM in 1924. CTR was started in New York with 1,300 employees. He sold the machines to cut meat and cheese counters and Industrial famous punch cards, a piece of hard paper that contains a binary code represented by the presence or absence of perforation.

They were first used to control looms. On 25 July 1911, IBM received its first patent. It is now the company that files the most patents in the world. The history of IBM is so vast that any claim of completeness is impossible. However, if we were to adopt the outline, Thomas J. Watson, who was hired by Flint in 1914 to lead the company, is probably the first time to stress.

He is the author of the slogan THINK, because he believed that all problems could be solved if people began to think. He is recognized for having propelled CTR to new heights. In four years it has doubled its turnover to $ 9 million, which would now $ 134 million (approx. EUR 90 million) taking into account inflation.

In 2010, IBM has an annual turnover of nearly $ 100 billion (approx. EUR 70 billion). During his first four years, Watson has also more than doubled the number of employees during this period and internationalized IBM open laboratories and offices in Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.

He especially in the history of IBM by transforming its business and focusing on a few products that have profoundly changed the history of computing. That's why he has renamed CTR ten years after his arrival. He wanted to reflect changes in company management. In 1936, IBM develops and provides the infrastructure used by the U.S.

government to Social Security. Some believe it is the largest project in the history book. In 1939, IBM demonstrated a primitive email system to the World Expo which was held in New York and in 1940 he designed the first vacuum tube and marks the beginning of electronics. The tube, which is shaped like a bulb, combines two electrodes placed in a vacuum or gas.

The whole is isolated from the outside by a jacket usually made of glass. It is used to amplify, correct or even create a signal at a rate unmatched at the time. He will be replaced by semiconductors. It nevertheless still uses vacuum tubes to very specific applications, such as sound amplification, some musicians and audiophiles will swear by this active component.

In 1944, IBM sells the Harvard Mark I, the first automatic digital computer. He began by making calculations for the offices of the U.S. military. He had also distinguished by durability and stability in excess of the time machine. It measured 16 meters long and 2.4 meters high and weighed 4500 kg.

In 1948, the SSEC (Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator) is started. Big Blue believes that this is the first computer. It is in all cases the first machine to be able to modify an installed program. In 1951, IBM developed the IBM 701, the first mass produced computer. It represents a milestone in the history of the firm, because it is the machine that will propel IBM to the electronics market to the detriment of punch cards.

The IBM 701 was the first to be able to store its programs in an internal electronic memory and addressable. It will be released in 1953. After 40 years as head of IBM and phenomenal growth that has brought the firm's products in over 80 countries around the world and having hired more than 40,000 employees, Thomas Watson was replaced by his son, Thomas Watson Jr in 1952.

His father died six weeks after the succession. His son is also at the head of many digital revolutions, until 1961. The father had staked everything on the punch cards. The son entered the digital age. In 1956, the IBM 305 RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) is the first computer with embedded hard drive.

The following year IBM publishes FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation) will become the most popular computer language for scientific work. In 1959, the IBM 1401 is the first computer to be sold 10 000 copies. It integrated the IBM 1403, a printer four times faster than competitors. However, history remembers Watson Jr.

for his "bet of $ 5 billion," a quote from Fortune magazine about the System/360, the first family of computers with software and peripherals interchangeable. The idea was to have a unique structure capable of adapting to the needs of users through software. A brand new idea at the time.

A magnetic tape containing the same data and programs from one system had to be installed in any configuration. The project still required a year of development and $ 5 billion, more than 36 billion dollars, taking inflation into account (25 billion euros). It is so far the most risky private project and the most expensive in history.

It was nevertheless a huge success. The same year IBM introduced the ancestor of the word processor, a typewriter capable of storing the data typed on a magnetic tape. In 1966, Robert Dennard, an IBM researcher, invented the DRAM, still very present today. Dennard rules are still used to understand the miniaturization of transistors.

In 1967, IBM produced the first integrated circuit made of germanium. The firm is also developing partnerships with NASA and in 1969, helps the agency to put the first man on the moon. In 1970, an IBM paper conceptualizes relational database to optimize storage and use of data in tables accessible.

Today, almost all databases use this model. It is also the year that IBM uses electron beam to produce an electronic component. In 1972, IBM offers the bar code rectangular panel of supermarkets in Rochester, Minnesota. Big Blue's model is adopted, changing the way the world goes shopping.

In 1975, IBM introduced the first laptop, the IBM 5100 Portable Computer. He weighed 22.5 kg and was used primarily for System/370 terminal. It costs between $ 9 000 and $ 20 000 at the time (ie between 25 000 and 60 000 € € taking into account inflation). The following year, IBM released the first laser printer, the IBM 3800.

In 1980, IBM developed the RISC instruction set which is still used in ARM or PowerPC processors. The company wanted to accelerate the speed of computers by simplifying the instructions of the more commonly used. Nevertheless, the world will remember above all of 1981. IBM introduces the first Personal Computer or PC.

It is the smallest computer and also the cheapest at the time. It is sold at 1,565 dollars or 2,700 U.S. dollars, taking inflation into account. It incorporated an Intel 8088 processor running at 4.77 MHz and had between 16 KB and 256 KB of memory. It runs on IBM BASIC and DOS 1.0. It was so popular that the term democratization PC now means all personal computers.

IBM, who thought to sell 240,000 copies, has sold 2 million over three years. The firm released the IBM System/36 in 1983, the machine for professionals at the time. In 1984, Big Blue produced the first memory chip capable of storing one million bits (128 KB). It will integrate the IBM 3090 processor which will be marketed 1985.

In 1988, IBM produced the first SRAM chip. The 90s are a great paradox. On the one hand, IBM discovered how to move an atom on a metal surface and demonstrated by writing the letters I, B and M. In 1991 he developed disk drives with heads and magnétoresisitives in 1992 he launched the ThinkPad line of computers TrackPoint and that has transformed the landscape of laptops for professionals.

At the same time, the firm performs very poorly and many wonder if the history of Big Blue is coming to an end. In 1993, Louis Gerstner took control of the company and changes direction. It focuses on solutions for professionals. In 1997, IBM released its e-business solutions and Garry Kasparov lost against Deep Blue.

In 1999, IBM designed Blue Gene supercomputer, the first of many. It will cost $ 100 million and will be 500 times more powerful than other models of the time. It is the first to reach the petaflop. It was also at that time IBM became interested in Linux and open source world. In 2001 it will invest $ 1 million in the operating system.

In the same year, IBM scientists published a paper with carbon nanotubes to the world. In 2003, it presents its Power4 processor contains 174 million transistors. The Prescott Intel, released in 2004, contained 125 million. However, IBM is focused more on solutions for enterprise, character recognition, the power management and especially the software as services.

In 2002, he invested $ 10 billion in its e-business solutions on demand. In 2005, he sold his division to Lenovo ThinkPad for $ 1.75 billion. He continues to talk about him. In 2011, Watson's computer beat the top players in Jeopardy (see "The largest machine that man Jeopardy"). Last week, he presented the first die in graphene (see "Breakthrough: IBM signs first die in graphene).

In 100 years, five scientists received the Nobel Prize in physics. In 1973, Leo Esaki was awarded for his work on the effects of tunneling in semiconductors. In 1986 Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer were recognized for inventing the scanning tunneling microscope that can determine the morphology of a conducting surface.

The following year, Johannes Georg Bednorz and Karl Alex Müller, who are honored for their discovery of high temperature superconductors. IBM has also shown great maturity during this centennial social. In 1914, he hired its first disabled employee. In 1935, it offers the same wages to men and women occupying the same position 28 years before that U.S.

law requires it. In 1941 the company hired Dr. Michael Supa. Blind and psychologist, he will attend IBM hiring 181 more people suffering from blindness and help the company adapt its tools to the visually impaired. In 1942, IBM's vice-president elect. In 1946, he hired his first commercial attache of color.

In 1984, IBM says that employees will be treated the same way, regardless of their sexual orientation. In 2005, he was the first company to say it will not use genetics to discriminate against its employees. It is clear that IBM no longer has much impact on the world of mainstream computing before.

Things have changed a lot. Microsoft and Apple are leading the operating system. Google and Facebook are the internet giants. HP is the manufacturer of consumer PCs and Big Blue is now completely absent from the mobile revolution. RISC architecture is the basis of ARM chips that flourish in this sector, but the company has made no direct contribution to this new phenomenon.

Going from Sabre, the reservation system of airline ticket in 1962 and designed with certain principles are still used today, technological innovation, IBM has played a major role in the history of computing. He also managed to transform itself to survive and grow in completely changing business several times in its history.

In moving from punch cards to PCs, the IBM hundred years ago is very different from today. The IBM 2011, with work on the cloud and the SAS, has nothing to do with that of ten years ago. This is perhaps the most important lesson learned from its history.

No comments:

Post a Comment