History of Computing Abroad



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History of Computing Abroad

Examination of the development of computing outside the United States

By: Mark McCasey, Ovidiu Elenes, Gani Nazirov, Jerry Fu, John Ordunez

This paper examines the development of computing outside the United States, from the period of the 1950s to the 1980s. While the course material has largely focused on the history of computing in the United States, this paper seeks to examine how computing developed in other parts of the world, and examine the factors that led to development unfolding how it did.


The five regions or countries of the world that we are examining are Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia and the former USSR, China, and Mexico and Central and South America. For each are, we have developed a timeline of significant computing events in the region, and if relevant, presented this against a backdrop of political and social events in that country. The five questions that we strive to answer for each area are the following:


  1. What factors contributed to the region's ability or desire (or lack thereof) to develop

computing technology?

  1. Did the fact that higher level programming languages were English-based impede their adoption in non-English speaking societies?

  2. What was the patent law in the region like, and what issues arose as a result of the prevailing laws?

  3. What was the general political attitude towards sharing technology with other countries?

  4. How did the Cold War affect developments in the region?

Computing in Western Europe





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