Evolution of Computing at RIT

Can you tell what that bulky piece of equipment the woman in the black and white image is operating? Hint: you are probably using its great, great grandchild right now to view this article. It was one of the very first mainframe computer systems introduced to RIT in the mid-1960s, an IBM 360. They were approximately the size of a small classroom and it had about 24 KB of memory. The desktop or laptop computer you use today has thousands of times more computer memory, speed and power than the IBM could even dream to have. 

This image was taken at the Computer Center in the College of Science in 1967. The university’s first computing course, Computer Techniques, was offered through the math department while Ralph L. Van Peursem served as Dean of the College of Science. 

When comparing the image from the 60s with the one taken at a current computer lab in Gosnell Hall, we see the outstanding technological progress we’ve made over the decades. Our lifestyle today is distinguished by accessibility of computers that can even be worn as watches and glasses in order to aid us with our daily needs. This advancement was simply unfathomable in the 60s when the processing power of these machines was limited and only accessible to large companies and universities. We still have a many technological advancements ahead of us, but in the midst of stress and the constant need to create and improve, it is gratifying to sit back once in a while and contemplate how far we have come and what greatness could possibly in store for us and our children in the future. 

Pictured right: Cheryl Lomedico, Senior Desktop Support Analyst, ITS Enterprise Support 


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