Digital State: The Story Of Minnesota's Computing Industry by Thomas J. MisaDigital State: The Story Of Minnesota's Computing Industry by Thomas J. Misa

Digital State: The Story Of Minnesota's Computing Industry

byThomas J. Misa

Paperback | October 7, 2013

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Accounts of the early events of the computing industry—the Turing machine, the massive Colossus, the ENIAC computer—are well-told tales, and equally well known is the later emergence of Silicon Valley and the rise of the personal computer. Yet there is an extraordinary untold middle history—with deep roots in Minnesota. From the end of World War II through the 1970s, Minnesota was home to the first computing-centered industrial district in the world.

Drawing on rare archival documents, photographs, and a wealth of oral histories, Digital State unveils the remarkable story of computer development in the heartland after World War II. These decades found corporations—concentrated in large part in Minnesota—designing state-of-the-art mainframe technologies, revolutionizing new methods of magnetic data storage, and, for the first time, truly integrating software and hardware into valuable products for the American government and public. Minnesota-based companies such as Engineering Research Associates, Univac, Control Data, Cray Research, Honeywell, and IBM Rochester were major international players and together formed an unrivaled epicenter advancing digital technologies. These companies not only brought vibrant economic growth to Minnesota, they nurtured the state’s present-day medical device and software industries and possibly even tomorrow’s nanotechnology.

Thomas J. Misa’s groundbreaking history shows how Minnesota recognized and embraced the coming information age through its leading-edge companies, its workforce, and its prominent institutions. Digital State reveals the inner workings of the birth of the digital age in Minnesota and what we can learn from this era of sustained innovation.

Thomas J. Misa is Engineering Research Associates Land Grant Chair of the History of Technology in the Program for History of Science and Technology and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as director of the Charles Babbage Institute, at the University of Minnesota. He has written or edited nine ...
Title:Digital State: The Story Of Minnesota's Computing IndustryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 10 × 7 × 0.8 inPublished:October 7, 2013Publisher:University of Minnesota PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0816683328

ISBN - 13:9780816683321


Table of Contents



Introduction: Minnesota Goes High-Tech

1. Philadelphia Story: Wartime Origins of Minnesota Computing

2. St. Paul Startup: Engineering Research Associates Builds a Pioneering Computer

3. Corporate Computing: Univac Creates a High-Tech Minnesota Industry

4. Innovation Machine: Control Data’s Supercomputers, Services, and Social Vision

5. First Computer: Honeywell, Partnerships, and the Politics of Patents

6. Big Blue: Manufacturing and Innovation at IBM Rochester

7. Industrial Dynamics: Minnesota Embraces the Information Economy

8. High-Technology Innovation: Medical Devices and Beyond

Editorial Reviews

"Minnesota's role in the rise of computing gets the thoughtful and big-picture attention it deserves in an impressive book by Tom Misa."—Pioneer Press"Engaging and lavishly illustrated."—Journal of American History"Digital State should be an addition to the “must read” lists of serious students and practitioners of the history of computing."—IEEE Annals of the History of Computing"Digital State is the book we’ve all been waiting for - a thoroughly researched and delightfully written history of how this region was a center of computer design and manufacturing for decades, what sustained it, and how it adapted to change."—Minnesota Historical Society Review"This richly detailed book is the most significant work about the early U.S. computer industry to come out in the last decade, and it will greatly deepen our understanding of the industry’s evolution and regional geography."—Technology and Culture"Misa’s readable book will be an important source for students of technology and the computing industry. I highly recommend it."—Oral History Review