Thomas Haigh

Thomas Haigh is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Comenius Visiting Professor at Siegen University, and the coauthor of ENIAC in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer (MIT Press).

  • A New History of Modern Computing

    Thomas Haigh and Paul E. Ceruzzi

    How the computer became universal.

    Over the past fifty years, the computer has been transformed from a hulking scientific supertool and data processing workhorse, remote from the experiences of ordinary people, to a diverse family of devices that billions rely on to play games, shop, stream music and movies, communicate, and count their steps. In A New History of Modern Computing, Thomas Haigh and Paul Ceruzzi trace these changes. A comprehensive reimagining of Ceruzzi's A History of Modern Computing, this new volume uses each chapter to recount one such transformation, describing how a particular community of users and producers remade the computer into something new.

    Haigh and Ceruzzi ground their accounts of these computing revolutions in the longer and deeper history of computing technology. They begin with the story of the 1945 ENIAC computer, which introduced the vocabulary of “programs” and “programming,” and proceed through email, pocket calculators, personal computers, the World Wide Web, videogames, smart phones, and our current world of computers everywhere—in phones, cars, appliances, watches, and more. Finally, they consider the Tesla Model S as an object that simultaneously embodies many strands of computing.

    • Paperback $55.00
  • ENIAC in Action

    ENIAC in Action

    Making and Remaking the Modern Computer

    Thomas Haigh, Mark Priestley, and Crispin Rope

    The history of the first programmable electronic computer, from its conception, construction, and use to its afterlife as a part of computing folklore.

    Conceived in 1943, completed in 1945, and decommissioned in 1955, ENIAC (the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was the first general-purpose programmable electronic computer. But ENIAC was more than just a milestone on the road to the modern computer. During its decade of operational life, ENIAC calculated sines and cosines and tested for statistical outliers, plotted the trajectories of bombs and shells, and ran the first numerical weather simulations. ENIAC in Action tells the whole story for the first time, from ENIAC's design, construction, testing, and use to its afterlife as part of computing folklore. It highlights the complex relationship of ENIAC and its designers to the revolutionary approaches to computer architecture and coding first documented by John von Neumann in 1945.

    Within this broad sweep, the authors emphasize the crucial but previously neglected years of 1947 to 1948, when ENIAC was reconfigured to run what the authors claim was the first modern computer program to be executed: a simulation of atomic fission for Los Alamos researchers. The authors view ENIAC from diverse perspectives—as a machine of war, as the “first computer,” as a material artifact constantly remade by its users, and as a subject of (contradictory) historical narratives. They integrate the history of the machine and its applications, describing the mathematicians, scientists, and engineers who proposed and designed ENIAC as well as the men—and particularly the women who—built, programmed, and operated it.

    • Hardcover $40.00
    • Paperback $25.00

Contributor

  • The Internet and American Business

    The Internet and American Business

    William Aspray and Paul E. Ceruzzi

    The effect of a commercialized Internet on American business, from the boom in e-commerce and adjustments by bricks-and-mortar businesses to file-sharing and community building.

    When we think of the Internet, we generally think of Amazon, Google, Hotmail, Napster, MySpace, and other sites for buying products, searching for information, downloading entertainment, chatting with friends, or posting photographs. In the academic literature about the Internet, however, these uses are rarely covered. The Internet and American Business fills this gap, picking up where most scholarly histories of the Internet leave off—with the commercialization of the Internet established and its effect on traditional business a fact of life. These essays, describing challenges successfully met by some companies and failures to adapt by others, are a first attempt to understand a dynamic and exciting period of American business history. Tracing the impact of the commercialized Internet since 1995 on American business and society, the book describes new business models, new companies and adjustments by established companies, the rise of e-commerce, and community building; it considers dot-com busts and difficulties encountered by traditional industries; and it discusses such newly created problems as copyright violations associated with music file-sharing and the proliferation of Internet pornography.

    Contributors Atsushi Akera, William Aspray, Randal A. Beam, Martin Campbell-Kelly, Paul E. Ceruzzi, James W. Cortada, Wolfgang Coy, Blaise Cronin, Nathan Ensmenger, Daniel D. Garcia-Swartz, Brent Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein, Thomas Haigh, Ward Hanson, David Kirsch, Christine Ogan, Jeffrey R.

    • Hardcover $53.00
    • Paperback $45.00