History of computing

Jennifer Tour Chayes

On September 20 was born Jennifer Tour Chayes. She is a Technical Fellow and Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she founded in 2008, and Microsoft Research New York City, which she founded in 2012. Chayes is best known for her work on phase transitions in discrete mathematics and computer science, structural and dynamical properties of self-engineered networks, and algorithmic game theory. She is considered one of the world’s experts in the modeling and analysis of dynamically growing graphs. Chayes has been with Microsoft Research since 1997, when she co-founded the Theory Group.

Programming Error May Have Contributed to Plane Crash

On September 21, 1996 a New York Times article warned against the dangers of trusting computers too completely after an investigation revealed that a programming error may have contributed to the crash of American Airlines Flight 965 in Colombia in December 1995. The pilots apparently selected the first choice of a beacon to guide the plane’s autopilot to a landing without checking that it was what they actually wanted. As a result, the plane was directed 100 miles off course, with the devastating result of 159 deaths.

Computer Code Could Be Copyrighted

On September 22,1986 in a decisive victory for the makers of a computer’s insides, a federal judge ruled that code used to run computers and other electronic devices could be copyrighted like printed material.

Computer Maker Honeywell Seeks Partner
On September 24, 1986 Honeywell, a company that joined the early foray into the computer industry but had faded from prominence by the mid-1980s, announced it was beginning discussions of a merger of its computer operations with the Japanese firm NEC and France’s Groupe Bull. Analysts saw the move as part of a trend of consolidation in the industry prompted in part by IBM’s control of more than half the market. Honeywell had experienced a 37-percent drop in its first half 1986 earnings.

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