[SIGCIS-Members] petroleum and computers

JoAnne Yates jyates at MIT.EDU
Tue Sep 14 10:59:26 EDT 2010


  I also have data that reinforces Bernardo's 
point that financial services (including 
insurance firms) are major computer 
purchasers in the 1950s and 1960s.

JoAnne Yates
MIT Sloan School of Management

On 9/14/2010 9:47 AM, Bernardo Batiz-Lazo wrote:
> I would disagree in the sense that it depends which geography you are
> looking at. I have some evidence to suggest that banking and financial
> services in general, were large purchasers.
>
>
> Saludos / Kind regards,
>
> Bernardo
> University of Leicester (UK)
>
>
> ==================
>
> Technological Innovation in Retail Finance:
> International Historical Perspectives
>
> Edited by Bernado Batiz-Lazo, J. Carles Maixé-Altés, Paul Thomes
>
> http://www.taylorandfrancis.com/books/details/9780415880671/
>
>
>
> On 14 September 2010 13:18, David Alan Grier<grier at gwu.edu>  wrote:
>> I tend to agree that it was a big consumer of computer cycles but I also
>> have my doubts.  After I wrote a Column in Computer in December 2006 on the
>> Univac Service Center for the Petroleum Industry in Dallas, which famously
>> lost money and closed in the early 60s, I received a a small torrent of
>> emails from retired petroleum engineers who felt that they were finally
>> receiving their due.  As Jonathon noted, they were doing high dimensional
>> fourier transforms and lots of linear programming, which consumes lots of
>> cycles.  I received emails from an  Esso engineer, who noted that they took
>> delivery of the first Univac 1103 in '56 and had von Neumann as a
>> consultant.  I also got a note from a Chevron engineer who told me about the
>> work he did in the early 60s.  At the same time, if you look at the
>> companies buying large machines in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s you find that
>> aerospace firms out number petroleum firms.
>> Unless other evidence is out there, I tend to accept the thesis that the
>> aerospace industry was the lead consumer of computers with petroleum behind
>> it.
>> David
>> ----------------------------------------
>> David Alan Grier
>> Vice President of Publications, IEEE Computer Society
>> Associate Professor of International Science and Technology Policy
>> Center for International Science and Technology Policy
>> Elliott School Of International Affairs
>> George Washington University
>> grier at computer.org
>> On Sep 13, 2010, at 6:47 PM, Deborah Douglas wrote:
>>
>> Colleagues,
>>
>> Recently, I received a question about a claim that the petroleum-seeking
>> geophysics industry was once the greatest consumer of computers, only
>> surpassed at some later point by the federal government.  No citation was
>> given and there is quite a bit of skepticism but where would you advise us
>> to look to refute this claim (or perhaps my own aerospace bias is too strong
>> and the claim is true!).
>>
>> Thanks,
>>
>> Debbie Douglas
>>
>>
>> Deborah G. Douglas, Ph.D.
>> Curator of Science and Technology
>> MIT Museum, N51-209
>> 265 Massachusetts Avenue
>> Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
>> ddouglas at mit.edu •  617-253-1766 phone  •  617-253-8994 fax
>> http://web.mit.edu/museumhttp://webmuseum.mit.edu>> http://museum.mit.edu/150
>>
>>
>>
>>
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-- 
JoAnne Yates
Deputy Dean
Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management
MIT Sloan School of Management
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