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1948: The Birth of Signal Processing

The year 1948 may be regarded as the annus mirabilis in the emergence of the discipline of signal processing. For in that year Claude Shannon published the epoch-making "A mathematical theory of communication"; Bernard Oliver, John Pierce, and Claude Shannon published the classic argument for the use of pulse..code modulation; modern digital methods of spectrum estimation were introduced; error-correcting codes were introduced; audio engineering achieved a new prominence; and the IEEE Signal Processing Society, albeit under a different name, was established. In addition, that year saw a demonstration of the first stored-program computer and the announcement of the invention of the transistor, heralding two new technologies that would later greatly stimulate signal processing. This article explores the year and its achievements in depth.

Air Traffic Control and Radar

Every day tens of thousands of people board airplanes to travel from one place to another. These flights, thousands of which take off and land daily, are among the safest forms of travel. Although airplane crashes are tragic and headline grabbing, the fact is the sky is a very safe place to be. But how, with so many airplanes in the air, does air travel maintain such a good safety record? The answer is, in large part, air traffic control, the complex system of directing planes and telling them how high or low to fly, and when and where to land safely.

Benjamin Franklin's Electric Motor

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was not only a scientist, but also an engineer. More than a decade before James Watt invented his improved steam engine and launched the industrial revolution in England, Benjamin Franklin devised a working electric motor.

Electrical technology in Franklin's day consisted mainly of scientific instruments. By 1745, electrical scientists exploring the nature of the "sublime fluid" had developed crude electrostatic generators and an early form of the capacitor, which they called the "Leyden jar." Experimenters employed these new devices to explore how electricity could be generated, stored and transmitted, but made little practical application of their knowledge.

Cryptography

The word cryptography comes from the Greek words kryptos meaning hidden and graphein meaning writing. Cryptography is the study of hidden writing, or the science of encrypting and decrypting text and messages.

Dictation Machines

When Thomas Edison introduced the phonograph he didn’t think people would use it primarily for entertainment, he believed its primary use would be in business as a dictation machine. A dictation machine is a special kind of sound recorder, specially adapted for making voice recordings. Throughout most of the 20th century, dictation machines were used by business people to record “voice letters.” The records were sent to a secretary, who transferred them to paper with a typewriter. Edison thought that the business uses of the phonograph would be just as important as its entertainment uses, but time proved him wrong.

Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Although electric vehicles seem futuristic, they have actually been around for more than 150 years! The first electric vehicles were small electric rail cars, which were demonstrated in the 1830s. Unfortunately, they required better batteries than those that existed at the time. It was not until the 1860s that inventors devised batteries that could be recharged numerous times. This was a necessity for an electric vehicle to be commercially practical. However, even with the new batteries, small electric rail cars could not compete with the giant steam-powered locomotives of the day.

GPS based tracking system (Patent)

A system uses GPS receivers and other sensors to acquire data about one or more objects at an event. The data acquired by the GPS receivers and the sensors is used to determine various statistics about the objects and/or enhance a video presentation of the objects. In one embodiment, the acquired data is used to determine three dimensional positions of the objects, determine the positions of images of the objects in a video and enhance the video accordingly. One exemplar use of the present invention is with a system for tracking automobiles at a race. The system determines statistics about the automobiles and enhances a video presentation of the race.

Integrated Circuits and the Space Program and Missile Defense

Integrated circuits (ICs) helped create the computer industry by providing users with more speed and functionality. But the relationship between computer users and computer manufacturers is symbiotic: the needs and demands of customers also spur the acceleration of new IC designs. Engineers often turn to IC designers seeking a new product that can help them achieve the goals of their own programs. Two examples of this are the U.S space program and the U.S Minuteman missile system.

Light and Power

Flick a switch and a light goes on. Flick it again and off it goes. Pretty simple. But developing a system that makes power so easily accessible took a lot of people a lot of hard work. It was also one of the most important things to take place in the late 19th century. Finding ways to generate and deliver power changed nearly everything about the way we live and work.

Microwave Ovens

A microwave oven uses radio energy to produce heat in substances such as food. Today’s household microwave ovens consist of an electronic device called a cavity magnetron which produces microwave energy, a waveguide that guides the energy in the right direction, and a metal enclosure, which traps that energy until absorbed by food or another material.

Morse Code

Morse code is a communications language created by Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail originally to be used with the telegraph. Each letter of the alphabet is made up of combinations of dots and dashes that were originally sent over telegraph wires or by radio waves from one place to another. Morse is the earliest type of digital communications, as the code is made solely from Ones and Zeros (ons and offs). It was the only way to rapidly communicate over very long distances before voice communications and two-way radios were able to do the job better. Morse Code communications can tolerate noise in the communication channel that would otherwise prevent voice (SSB, AM or FM) communications.

Nipper and Friends

The black and white fox terrier, quizically staring at an antique horn-type phonograph and the words “His Master’s Voice,” has been a well-known corporate trademark for more than a century. This image originated as an original painting by Francis Bauraud of a stray dog he had taken in, whose name was Nipper. The original painting showed Nipper staring into the horn of a cylinder phonograph, and this painting sat forgotten in a studio for many years. Later, the artist was encouraged by a friend to go back to the painting and replace the original black horn with a more up-to-date brass horn. Barraud borrowed a new horn from the offices of the Berliner Gramophone Company’s branch in England. The president of the company, William Owen, was interested in what was going on and dropped by Barraud’s London studio. When he saw the painting, he offered to buy it if the artist would paint in a Berliner gramophone for the Edison cylinder machine.

Project Diana

Just after the end of World War II, United States military leaders asked the U.S Army Signal Corps to research the capabilities of long-range radar. The military wanted to learn whether long-range radar could be used to detect incoming ballistic missiles. Military planners were well aware of the damage the dreaded German V-1 and V-2 rockets had done to London during World War II and sought a way of preventing such destruction in the future. This was especially important since the military believed the former Soviet Union, an enemy of the U.S, would soon have long-range missiles and, possibly, nuclear weapons. The result was Project Diana, mankind’s first attempts at reaching beyond the ionosphere and the United State’s first foray into space.

Radio

For much of the 20th century radio was one of the most popular forms of entertainment. People used to sit on the floor in front of it and listen to programs, much as we watch television today. Indeed, when we think of radio we think of it as the box on which we hear our favorite music or talk shows.

Refrigerator

In the late 1800s the first “mechanical” refrigerators were introduced to businesses such as restaurants and grocery stores. These machines used compressed ammonia or other gasses to freeze water into ice without relying on nature. At first these refrigerators were driven by steam engines, but later they were run by an electric motor. Scaled-down versions became available for home use around 1913.

Richard Feynman and Micromachines

On 29 December 1959 physicist Richard Feynman delivered a public lecture entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” While few took notice at the time, it is thought Feynman’s words inspired the new field of nanotechnology. The talk, delivered a the meeting of a local California chapter of the American Physical Society (our record of it actually comes from a version published later in a magazine), opened with Feynman announcing that he had identified what might someday be considered an entirely new field—but not a field of technology. Although he called it a field of physics—the study of matter, he went on to describe what might more accurately be called a field of science-based engineering.

Scanning Tunneling and Atomic Force Microscopes

An ordinary microscope, which employs optical lenses, cannot be used to view objects smaller than the wavelength of light. An electron microscope can view smaller things with greater clarity than an optical microscope, but still cannot clearly view individual atoms. Today, scientists and engineers can visualize things even smaller than individual atoms by using an instrument called the scanning tunneling microscope or STM.

Smart Appliances

It used to be that people welcomed appliances that had more features and were more automatic than their predecessors. The automatic toaster, for example, was introduced in the 1920s and saved countless pieces of bread from burning. Everyone welcomed the automatic washing machine, which was introduced in the 1930s and moved by itself from one cycle to the next. Another advance was the clothes drier with a timer, and then better yet, the model with a sensor that detected when the clothes were dry.

System of Measurement Units

Engineering makes use of physical quantities in the broadest sense of that term, Le., including mechanical, chemical, physical, thermal and physiological quantities. In order adequately to compare the magnitudes of physical quantities of the same kind, unit magnitudes, or units, are necessary for each kind of physical quantity dealt with.

Transistors

Today, when we refer to electronics, we are usually referring to things containing transistors. Transistors are devices that switch electric currents on and off or amplify electric currents. They use specially prepared substances to do this, and are used individually or in clusters of up to several million on integrated circuits. The transistor got its start in the 1940s when engineers began looking for a replacement for the electron tube, an earlier device for amplification and switching. The electron tube was based on the light bulb, so it was big, fragile, and created a lot of excess heat.

First-Hand:Beginning of the Silicon Age

The “transistor effect” was discovered in germanium by Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley in December 1947. The discovery ignited a rush to develop practical transistors and incorporate them into electronic circuits. Unfortunately, there were two limiting factors in the use of germanium transistors. The band gap of germanium (the energy gap between electrons that are bound to the Ge atoms and those that are free to travel throughout the crystal and carry electrical current) was only 0.7 electron volts (ev) and that limited the use of germanium transistors to environments only somewhat above room temperature and, therefore, also to relatively low power applications. In addition, the surface of germanium was chemically active and required hermetic enclosures of metal, ceramic or glass for stable operation which significantly increases the cost of germanium devices.

First-Hand:The First Quartz Wrist Watch

In July 1967, somewhat more than 40 years ago, the world's first quartz wrist watch had been created by a group of researchers at the Centre Electronique Horloger in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, assembled and successfully tested for proper operation. The watch baptized Beta 1 with the identification number CEH-1020 was fully meeting the regulatory requirements concerning men's wrist watches as postulated by the established Observatory of Neuchâtel and its famous yearly "Concours Chronométrique".

First-Hand:Sidelobe Cancellers and the Like

For those of us who worked in the area of Radar Systems, it was not uncommon to jump from designing electronic countermeasures (ECM) equipment designed to defeat radars to Electronic Counter-countermeasures (ECCM) equipment intended to defend against such devices. I first worked on ECM and then moved to the ECCM world.

First-Hand:A Co-op Student Before Graduation

While attending Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the late 1950s (BSEE '61), I had the good fortune to be hired as a co-op student by General Electric. This was an excellent program and provided many benefits to the would-be engineer as well as being an excellent recruiting tool for GE. Incidentally, GE's "Advanced Courses in Engineering" or A-B-C Course for young graduates was also an outstanding program that provided mutual benefits to both the employee and employer. I was fortunate to have taken part in that program as well.

First-Hand:Serendipity and Superconducting Magnets

After my work on silicon transistors, I was offered the opportunity to transfer to the Metallurgical Research Department (later known as the Materials Science Department) and head a new Subdepartment devoted to basic research. At Bell Labs, Subdepartments typically consisted of 10 or so Members of Technical Staff (MTS) with a comparable number of technicians and other support staff. A Department usually consisted of four Subdepartments. The Metallurgical Research Department was responsible for research and development of metals, ceramics, semiconductors and other non-organic materials. During the age of electro-mechanical switching, specialty metals for springs, electromagnets, electrical contacts, etc were critical for the reliability of the network. The Department was populated historically and primarily by expert metallurgical engineers who developed new materials and process technology and also served as consultants to the manufacturing engineers in Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of the Bell System.

First-Hand:Seeing Was Believing

I joined Collins radio with a B.S.E.E in 1959, after serving as a U.S. Navy pilot and electronics officer and attending M.I.T. and Georgia Tech. During my interview and thereafter, Collins designers talked about loaded Q in circuits, meaning the ratio of L or C reactance to the apparent resistance at a particular frequency; that is how much reactance power (vars) circulates relative to the real power (watts) passing through. In 1959, the main application of loaded Q was calculation of resistance transformations that are equal to 1+Q², "one plus Q squared" being the method's name. HF resonators usually are composed of adjacent L and C branches having equal reactances of opposite signs and operate at a chosen "parallel resistance" at the passband center frequency.

First-Hand:Adventures on the USS Intrepid

When I graduated from college in the mid-1960s, military service was expected of all male U.S. citizens who did not have an exemption from military service. I chose the U.S. Navy, joining a commissioning program that I completed during summer breaks while I was pursuing my BSEE degree. Following graduation I was commissioned as an Ensign and received orders to report to the USS Intrepid.

First-Hand:Banging the Large Drum Slowly

In January 1953, I reported for work at Remington-Rand Univac in St. Paul, Minnesota. I had been interviewed for a job at Engineering Research Associates (ERA) several months earlier while still in the Navy but prior to reporting for work the company became Remington-Rand. I worked on a project for the Navy that included recording on large drums as a means of delaying analog signals.

First-Hand:Inventing the Vidifont: the first electronics graphics machine used in television production

Vidifont
Vidifont

In 1966, Rudi Bass, Director of Graphics Arts for CBS News, was tackling a set of challenges in preparation for the 1968 elections. Among other tasks, the Graphics Arts Department was required to generate graphics, including title graphics, for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. In order to comprehend the magnitude of the task they faced, it is helpful to understand how television graphics were created in those times.

First-Hand:Adventures at Wartime Los Alamos

This article will discuss three major topics. First about how we experienced life in wartime Los Alamos. Second, the work we did on the Fat Man Implosion type of bomb, and third, the three wartime bomb events: the Trinity Test of the Fat Man bomb, and the job that took us to the Tinian Pacific base, and the delivery missions of the bombs to Japan-- Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

First-Hand:Origin of Toshiba Computer Software Product Line "COPOS and PODIA" for Power-Generation Plant and its induction into the Software Product Line Hall of Fame at Carnegie Mellon University

Since 1960s to early 70s at first in USA ambitious plant automation using real-time process computer for fossil power generation plants in order to transfer from manual operation to automatic computer control had been developed to solve the lack of skillful plant operators because it took long time to train them and also the needs for skillful operators had been increasing due to rapid increase of power plants for economic growth.

First-Hand:My Experiences as a Space Engineer: The Pre-launch Years

I worked on space-related projects for most of my career, but would like to start with some background. Accordingly, this write-up consists of four parts: a brief career history; general remarks about space projects; early education and formative years; and studies leading to the first engineering degree. Subsequent postings will discuss some satellite communications projects that may be of broad interest.

First-Hand:Slide Rule Gives Flight to Tracking Antenna

In 1949, I was working as a microwave engineer at Hughes Aircraft Company (HAC) in Culver City, California. I was responsible for the design, test, and integration of the RF subsystem for the APG37 airborne fire control radar, which was intended for use in the new generation of jet interceptors and fighter airplanes, beginning with the F86.

Papers of Franklin L. Pope

Succeeding Dr. Norvin Green, the second president of the Institute was Franklin Leonard Pope, one of the earliest practicing electrical engineers in the country. Mr. Pope, like many of the charter members of the Institute, was active principally in the telegraph and telephone field.

Papers of Carl Hering

One of the outstanding figures in the electrical engineering world was Carl Hering, a pioneer in the field of design and construction of electrical apparatus. He was a productive researcher in electrochemical and electrophysical fields, and the discoverer of several fundamental natural laws.

Papers of Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was born in 1856 in what is now Croatia to Serbian parents Milutin and Djuka Tesla. His father was a priest, an intellectual who prodded his son to develop unusual mental discipline. His mother was an inventor of many time-saving devices used for domestic tasks. Despite his early success at school and obvious interest in experimenting with mechanical devices, Tesla’s father was determined that young Nikola become a minister. Only after Tesla sank into an acute physical decline did his father relent and allow him to continue his scientific education at Graz Polytechnic Institute in Austria.

Papers of Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside was born in 1850 in Camden Town, a notoriously crime-ridden, lower class area of London. Young Oliver had a challenging and troubled youth. Life in the slums was difficult enough, but a childhood bout with scarlet fever, which left him nearly deaf, added to his troubles. Heaviside’s mother ran a school for girls, which he attended rather than attending the neighborhood school. This offered some protection from the influence of the local ruffians. However, Heaviside’s hearing impairment made making friends difficult. Despite being bright and a good student, by age 16 the socially awkward Heaviside had had enough of formal education and left school.

A Century of Electricals

The Electricals-electrical, electronics, and computer engineers-have produced the most dramatic technologies of our time. The world has changed because of the skill and imagination of these men and women.

Electric power, telephones, radio, television, and computers are just some of the products of electrical engineering. And we can expect the future to be as exciting and as challenging as the past.

Electricity, The Magic Medium

Today we rely on, and take for granted, the silent energy of electricity for instant communication with places near and far, for lighting and heating our homes, driving our machines of production, transporting our people and produce, operating our office buildings, lighting our streets, controlling our traffic movements, calculating our scientific problems, doing our accounting, carrying out a great variety of medical treatments, and educating and entertaining ourselves. A century ago the application of electricity to these purposes was only just beginning. Six authors, with diverse background experiences, tell a remarkable story.

Telharmonium

“Telharmonium” was the strange-sounding name given to one of the earliest electrical musical instruments by its inventor, whose Thaddeus Cahill. The Iowa-born Cahill was a lawyer and sometime inventor, born in 1867. As a youth he enjoyed experimenting with telephones and other gadgets.

Vladimir Zworykin Oral History

Dr. Vladimir Zworykin’s collegiate career at the St. Petersburg Institute of Technology in Russia paved the way for his career in electronics. Zworykin received his electrical engineering degree from the Institute in 1912, studying under Professor Boris Rosing, who had built an early cathode ray television in 1908. He began graduate study at the College de France, engaging in X-ray research under Professor Paul Langevin, but returned to Russia at the outbreak of World War I to serve in the Russian Signal Corps.

John Pierce Oral History (Part 1)

John Robinson Pierce made many important contributions to microwave and communications technology during his long career at Bell Laboratories. He also made important contributions to the development of microwave electron tubes such as the “traveling-wave tube.” Pierce is also remembered for naming an amplifying device developed by some of his Bell Labs colleagues—the transistor. Finally, in the late 1950s, Pierce was an early and enthusiastic promoter of communications satellites and played a pivotal role in the development of two of the earliest, Echo I and Telstar.

Gordon K. Teal Oral History

Gordon K. Teal was the recipient of the IEEE Medal of Honor and member of the National Academy of Engineering. Gordon Teal's contribution to solid state electronics, the monocrystals of germanium and silicon that opened up the field to practical use and commercial viability, guarantees him a high place in the history of technology. In the interview, he recounts his career from Bell Labs to Texas Instrument and beyond. His story is interesting also for what it shows about science and engineering.

Thelma Estrin Oral History

Thelma Estrin, a 1977 IEEE Life Fellow "for contributions to the design and application of computer systems for neurophysiological and brain research," is a pioneer in the field of biomedical engineering and as the IEEE's first female vice president.

Galvani and the Frankenstein Story

Thanks to the power of cinema, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the tale of a scientist’s hubris, has become a prominent element in American popular culture. When Hollywood’s first full-length screen adaptation of Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus appeared in 1931, it was an instant sensation. In making the movie, however, director James Whale had taken considerable liberties with Shelley’s novel.

The Technology of Movies

Movies have been an important part of popular culture for about 100 years. Though essentially a photographic medium, movies have historically relied heavily on electrical, electronics and computer technologies.

Electrical Excursions of Mathew Fontaine Maury (1806-1873)

Mathew F. Maury
Mathew F. Maury

Mathew Fontaine Maury was on 14 January 1806. Probably few readers of this article will recognize the name. But to those interested in the science and history of the sea, Maury is a pioneer in oceanography and meteorology. First, as a young officer in charge of the U.S. Navy's Depot of Charts and Instruments, and later as director of the U.S. Naval Observatory, Maury embarked on a detailed and systematic analysis of the spatial and temporal behavior of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Although these peacetime scientific pursuits dominated Maury's professional life, the demands of war led him to develop the first application of electrical technology to naval warfare.

Build It and They Will Come: The Far-Reaching Effects of Global Positioning Systems

For more than a millennium after the fall of Rome, Western Europe’s existence was one of great geopolitical uncertainty. Great land empires to the south and east constantly threatened to overrun Europe. Unable to advance its commercial, political and military ambitions by land, Europe’s Atlantic nation-states turned to the world’s oceans.

The Sea and Early Electrical Technology

The story of the sea has been a central theme in the drama of human history. And so it shouldn’t be surprising that the development of science and technology is interwoven with the story of the sea. During a recent five-week sea voyage from Cape Town, South Africa, to the Caribbean, I had ample to time reflect on the extent to which IEEE technologies have become embedded in maritime transport, even in relatively simple sail boats. With strong winds and all sails out, our vessel sliced through the waves as sailing ships have done for millennia.

A Very Early Conception of a Solid State Device

Invented at Bell Telephone Laboratories between 1945 and 1948, many consider the transistor to be one of the most important inventions in 20th century technology. The story of the first working transistor underscores the power modern industrial laboratories have had to coordinate scientific discovery in the pursuit of technological breakthroughs. It is about great intellectual leaps and driving ambition. But while the story has been told and retold to scientists and engineers for years, only a small circle of history buffs and scholars know that the pursuit of the solid-state amplifier has an even longer history than the transistor. This quest dates back to 1924–1925, and the work of Julius Edgar Lilienfeld.

Heinrich Hertz

The electromagnetic spectrum and its commercial exploitation today seem as commonplace as the air that surrounds us. Yet there was a time in the not too distant past when the very concept of the electromagnetic spectrum was unknown. When James Clerk Maxwell proposed the idea, first in the 1860s and then more fully in his 1873 Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism, it took almost two decades to gain widespread acceptance by the scientific and engineering establishment. In some quarters, it was actively resisted. The man whose elegant experiments finally transformed a contested theory into a universally accepted model of reality was Heinrich Hertz, a brilliant German of Jewish origin who was prevented only by his untimely death from revolutionizing more than one major area of physics. His accomplishments earned him the posthumous honor of having his surname designate the international unit of frequency, but behind “Hertz” the term lies the story of a fascinating, albeit brief, life.

Geomagnetism and Edmond Halley (1656-1742)

When one reads or hears the name Edmond Halley, the comet of the same name often comes to mind. Relatively rare, comets have appeared throughout history, and for millennia, humanity viewed comets as independent, if not prophetic, events. In 1682, another comet appeared to the world. Halley, one of the most eminent astronomers of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, argued that the comet of 1682 had been the same one that had been recorded in 1066, 1305, and 1380. Rather than on a parabolic trajectory, this comet, he argued, traveled on a highly elongated elliptical orbit. Using the new mathematics and physics developed by his friend Isaac Newton, Halley predicted that this comet would appear again to the world in 1758. Halley, who would become Britain’s Astronomer Royal, never lived to see his prediction come true. But Halley’s Comet was born. Not confined to only astronomy, Halley’s great mind touched many areas of science and technology. To electrical engineers, it may come as a surprise that Edmond Halley was also one of the early explorers into the realm of electromagnetic phenomena.

James Clerk Maxwell

James Clerk Maxwell first introduced his mathematical conceptualization of electromagnetic phenomena 150 years ago. Presented to the Cambridge Philosophical Society in 1855, this paper was the first of three on the subject that Maxwell would pen in a 10-year span. His portrayal of electromagnetic forces as “fields” revolutionized physics. In giving a mathematical foundation to Faraday’s qualitative notion of lines-of-force, Maxwell provided the intellectual wellspring from which much of electrical engineering would flow. But let us not forget that the ascendancy of Maxwell’s concept of the electromagnetic field did not come without a long and, sometimes, bitter fight. The debate was the classic dichotomy of theory vs. practice. Electrical engineers, electricians as they were then called, saw no value in the field concept to the practical development of electrical technology. Still rooted in action-at-a-distance, these opponents saw the field concept as pure “bug-a-boo.” It would take the efforts of the “Maxwellians,” most of who were physics professors; Heinrich Hertz’s experiments; and the mounting technical difficulties arising from alternating currents, before Maxwell’s theory would gain universal acceptance.

Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside was born in 1850 in Camden Town, a notoriously crime-ridden, lower class area of London. Young Oliver had a challenging and troubled youth. Life in the slums was difficult enough, but a childhood bout with scarlet fever, which left him nearly deaf, added to his troubles. Heaviside’s mother ran a school for girls, which he attended rather than attending the neighborhood school. This offered some protection from the influence of the local ruffians. However, Heaviside’s hearing impairment made making friends difficult. Despite being bright and a good student, by age 16 the socially awkward Heaviside had had enough of formal education and left school.

Wireless Telegraphy

England. Guglielmo Marconi began his wireless experiments in 1895, and on 2 June 1896 filed his provisional specification of a patent for wireless telegraphy. He demonstrated the system to the British Post Office in July. The British patent was accepted on 2 July 1897, and the US equivalent on 13 July 1897. In March 1896, Alexandr Popov demonstrated a similar wireless system in Russia, having demonstrated a more rudimentary system a year earlier.

History of Broadband Impedance Matching

The bits and pieces of matching technology are scattered over the past 70 years. There are some substantially different developments that nevertheless fit together in important ways. Some separate techniques are also crucial to several others, especially optimization or nonlinear programming. Three books and an article have been made available on this IEEE Global History Network as downloadable PDF files to simplify reference retrieval (click on citations in blue type). More than 60 references are cited.

Early Electrification of Buffalo: The Beginning of Central Station Service

The City of Buffalo is located in western New York State at the junction of Lake Erie and the Niagara River. It is approximately ten miles north-to-south and six miles east-to-west with an area of 42 square miles. Niagara Falls is located 20 miles north of the city [Fig. 1.1]. In 1900 Buffalo, with a large commercial and industrial base, was the eighth largest city in the United States.

ETA Systems Hardware Technologies (1983-88)

ETA Systems Inc. was spun off as the Supercomputer subsidiary from a struggling Control Data Corporation (CDC). The objective was to develop and manufacture High Performance Computers or commonly called in the 80’s and 90’s simply Supercomputers. Cray Research Inc. dominated this market during this time frame and CDC had a minor market position introducing the Star-100 followed by the CYBER-203 and CYBER-205 systetms. Novel architecture (fast scalar performance and the efficient use of vectors), innovative software and highest performance integrated circuit (resulting in the fastest clock period), innovative packaging (to optimize device spacing and thermal management) differentiated Supercomputers from conventional computer systems during this period. It must be stated to be "fair and balanced" that Supercomputers also had the highest price tag and demanded the largest memories and highest performance peripherals and system bandwidths. Systems dominating the market during the 80’s were the Cray-1, Cray XMP and CYBER-205. NEC, Fujitsu and Hitachi also developed systems in this market. The word Supercomputer was applied to other products as well. It is not intentional to dismiss their recognition.

NO DAMNED COMPUTER is Going to Tell Me What to DO - The Story of the Naval Tactical Data System, NTDS

It was 1962. Some of the prospective commanding officers of the new guided missile frigates, now on the building ways, had found out that the Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) was going to be built into their new ship, and it did not set well with them. Some of them came in to our project office to let us know first hand that no damned computer was going to tell them what to do. For sure, no damned computer was going to fire their nuclear tipped guided missiles. They would take their new ship to sea, but they would not turn on our damned system with its new fangled electronic brain.

The Foundation of Digital Television

By the late 1970's, the application of digital technology to television was widespread. A number of digital television products had become available for use in professional television production. These included graphics generators, recursive filters (noise reducers), time base correctors and synchronizers, standards converters, amongst others. However, each manufacturer had adopted its own concept of a digital interface, and this meant that these digital devices when formed into a workable production system had to be interfaced at the analog level, thereby forfeiting many of the advantages of digital processing.

Digital Television: The Digital Terrestrial Television Broadcasting (DTTB) Standard

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a special agency of the United Nations, is assigned the responsibility of developing international agreements on wired and wireless communications. The ITU considers the changing state of global communication networks and services and develops recommendations for the promotion and harmonization of developments in the field as they apply to the international community.

First-Hand:Cryo CMOS and 40+ layer PC Boards - How Crazy is this?

It was in the early 80's. Control Data (CDC) had just launched the CYBER - 205 with modest success and the team was now focused on the next generation machine, the 2XX as I recall. Speed, cost and meeting the schedule were all key objectives. Speed because Cray Research under the guidance of Seymour Cray was setting milestones for Supercomputers with the Cray 1 and then the Cray 2. Cost, since Supercomputers were extremely expensive. Schedules since the CYBER - 205 had established patience records as a machine that may never get out the door and this must not be repeated.

First-Hand:Philips Telephone Exchanges and Denmark before 1960

Since 1959 telephone exchange technique was both my work and my hobby. A number of events from this long period (and some from before it) may be of interest for others. That is why I wrote this story. It is written from my memory, with no access to notes, and is thus a subjective presentation. The persons mentioned – and others – may have a quite different perception of the events (if they remember them) and that perception is as good as mine.

First-Hand:Philips Telephone Exchanges and Denmark, 1960-1970

During the trip when an agreement with JTAS was made to supply the test exchange ETS 3 to them, Reinders, who was sales manager at PTI in Hilversum, said: “The only telephone system I ever understood is the manual Magneto system. And that is as well. If I understood the complicated systems we make today I am not sure I dared sell them”.

First-Hand:Philips Telephone Exchanges and Denmark 1970-1980

Around 1970 something happened that was close to a catastrophe for Philips Telecommunication in Copenhagen. The telecom administrations made an open request for carrier frequency equipment.

First-Hand:Philips Telephone Exchanges and Denmark 1980-1990

There were of course several tales about Philips and their products. There probably are about any large company. One was about the invention of a shaving automat based on the Philishave. One should only put the head into the automat, throw in a coin and then you were shaved. The answer to the criticism that not all chins were alike was: “No, but they will become so!"

First-Hand:Serendipity and Superconducting Magnets

After my work on silicon transistors, I was offered the opportunity to transfer to the Metallurgical Research Department (later known as the Materials Science Department) and head a new Subdepartment devoted to basic research. At Bell Labs, Subdepartments typically consisted of 10 or so Members of Technical Staff (MTS) with a comparable number of technicians and other support staff. A Department usually consisted of four Subdepartments. The Metallurgical Research Department was responsible for research and development of metals, ceramics, semiconductors and other non-organic materials. During the age of electro-mechanical switching, specialty metals for springs, electromagnets, electrical contacts, etc were critical for the reliability of the network. The Department was populated historically and primarily by expert metallurgical engineers who developed new materials and process technology and also served as consultants to the manufacturing engineers in Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of the Bell System.