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Bright Boys: The Making of Information Technology Hardcover – March 31, 2010


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Bright Boys: The Making of Information Technology + The Man Who Invented the Computer: The Biography of John Atanasoff, Digital Pioneer
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: A K Peters/CRC Press (March 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568814763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568814766
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,220,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Bright Boys cuts right to the heart of how complex technologic systems are conceived, incubated, and grown across generations. Tom's clever writing style draws a reader into the story and the remarkable depth and breadth of his research holds the reader firm, often enthralled, throughout. This is a remarkable case study of the birth and development of a technological system that indispensably beats as the heart of the economy, communications, transportation, and culture circulating life's blood of information around the globe in the blink of an eye. --Dik Daso, Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum.



A fascinating story of how it felt to be present at the creation of the Information Age, at a time when, as the author says, there was less than a megabyte of computer memory on the whole planet. --Paul E. Ceruzzi Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum.



Astonishingly rich and broad recapturing of the subject period. Marvelous and exciting writing! --Wes Clark, bright boy designer of the TX-0 and TX-2 computers.

About the Author

Tom Green is an Emmy-nominated, award-winning writer, producer and playwright who uses his print and video expertise to tell stories about science, technology and engineering. His stage plays were produced at Boston's Next Move Theatre and then reproduced as radio plays for National Public Radio. He also wrote and produced the forum-based TV pilot "Lifelines" at Boston's WCVB-TV, Channel 5. In addition to working for various companies as a writer, editor, and producer, he owned and operated his own video production company for ten years where he produced video for corporations, broadcast, and cable TV. Since 1995, Green has evolved his storytelling skills and video-making experience in tandem with the arrival and growth of the Internet and Web.


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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In general, when the history of computing research is studied, the majority of the ink is spent describing Xerox PARC. Rarely is there a significant mention of what was done in a research lab at MIT. This is unfortunate as it was there that a group of imaginative thinkers, referred to here as the "Bright Boys", completely revolutionized the preparation for warfare and ultimately society.
It all began in 1946, immediately after the end of World War II, when the United States had dramatically demobilized its' powerful military and the Soviet Union was absorbing countries. Recognizing that the Germans had a great deal of advanced technology, the United States sent teams of experts to identify, interpret and transfer the technology to America. This needed to be done under the Soviet spy apparatus and had to include the movement of the proper scientists to the United States.
As the military and political leaders attempted to counter the multiple threats from the Soviet Union, it was clear that only a very advanced information gathering network could provide the data that would allow the United States to recognize and respond to any attack. From these initial beginnings rose the concepts of Information Technology (IT) and networked computers.
A great deal of the work was done at the Barta building, where a collection of very imaginative and bright young men set out to invent digital computing technology. Nearly everything had to be built from scratch, both the theory and practice. There was no library of research papers or bank of software that could be consulted or used, it all had to be put together and made to work. They were extremely successful, nearly everything we take for granted in computing today can have its' roots traced back to their work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Recumbent on June 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A detailed documentation of a major change in science: the switch to digital technology and the introduction of solid-state circuits, which made possible the winning of World War II with radar, anti-aircraft defense, rapid calculation of ballistic trajectories, establishment of a nation-wide military communications system, and missile and torpedo flight control. The politics and personal conflicts at the beginning were too much detail for me, but starting about page 150 the ingenuity and progress of the "bright boys" was great reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Keen on July 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Great book but I am not sure what is inflating the price. Many other books on the same subject are half the price. 320 pages should not cost so much.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Alan Kilian on May 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The history of the transition from analog computers to digital computers should have been an exciting page turner, but somehow Mr. Green turned it into a boring list of names, places and dates.

I was interested in this book because it mentions ERA our local computer heros where Seymour Cray got his start before founding Control Data and Cray Research.

I wanted to learn about the technology of Whirlwind and other digital computers, but there's very little description of just what went into designing and building these fantastic machines.

If you want a timeline of the names, places and dates of the events surrounding the building of the first digital computers, this is a good reference.

If you want an exciting book describing the details of designing building and getting the first digital computers to run, you'll likely be unhappy.
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