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Electronics Technology and Computer Science, 1940-1975: A Coevolution

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1 Author(s)

This paper explores the relation ship between two disciplines: electrical engineering and computer science, over the past 40 years. The author argues that it was the technology of electronics - the exploitation of the properties of free electrons - that finally permitted Babbage's concepts of automatic computing machines to be practically realized. Electrical Engineering (EE) activities thus "took over" and dominated the work of those involved with computing. Once that had been done (around the mid-1950s), the reverse takeover happened: the science of computing then "took over" the discipline of EE, in the sense that its theory of digital switches and separation of hardware and software offered EE a guide to designing and building ever more complex circuits.

Published in:

Annals of the History of Computing  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 4 )