Even if you still compose your letters on a typewriter and have never surfed the Internet, your life is greatly impacted by computers. Computers run your car, monitor the electricity you use, and serve a vital function in healthcare. If it is not green or growing, almost everything you see was impacted in some way by a computer. You don’t have to be a full-fledged computer Geek to get something out of a visit to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
Guests here at the Camino Inn and Suites are only minutes away from 1401 North Shoreline Drive and the Computer History Museum. In an effort to reach as many eyes as possible, exhibits are now presented both at the museum and online. While you are here in Mountain View, spend a few hours at the museum, and then later, while you are back in your hotel room, check-out some more exhibits on the Computer History Museum’s website. Following are some of the many exhibits you can see in person and online.
IBM 1401 Demo Lab
First introduced in 1959, the IBM 1401 was instrumental in introducing businesses to the power and capabilities of the computer. The rather large and bulky IBM 1401 was easy to operate, expandable, and considered state-of-the-art when it first came out. It was the computer that led the transition from manual punch-card processing (what’s that?)to today’s electronic computing.
PDP-1: The Mouse that Roared
Digital Equipment designed this 2,000 pound “mini-computer” back in 1959 and it soon became a favorite of early computer enthusiasts who knew that the potential for computers to change the world was very real. The architects and engineers who designed and built the computer reached audiences beyond the business community. They added graphics, real time capabilities and more interactive opportunities. SpaceWar, one of the first computer games, was a big hit. Stop by the exhibit and see a demonstration of all the things that this mini-computer can still do at the ripe old age of 55 (that’s 825 years-old in computer years).
Where to? A History of Autonomous Vehicles
It’s the latest thing. Google and all of the major auto manufacturers are working on cars that drive themselves. This exhibit takes a closer look at the technology of today that is making it possible for self-driving cars to go from concept to reality.
Also a physical exhibit at the museum, Revolution is a history of the computer. Take a walk back in time and see how the computer has evolved. Go from mainframes to PCs and from the antiquated DOS (Disk Operating System) to artificial intelligence and the Worldwide Web. Meet the men and women who were instrumental in making computers as common as TVs. When you view this exhibit, you’ll know how Silicon Valley got its name and why it is at the epicenter of the latest technology.
The Silicon Engine
Trace the development of the silicon chip that changed the world. Moore’s Law still holds true today. Named after Intel’s Gordon Moore, it stated that the number of circuits in a dense integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. Circuits have gone from a single silicon transistor back in the 1950s to the 64-bit microprocessor of the 2000s that contains 592 million transistors.
Mastering the Game
The history of computer chess is examined in this interesting exhibit. Computers have been programmed to play chess against humans for more than 50 years. Back in the 1970s, a chess master like Bobby Fisher or Boris Spasky could easily defeat their computer opponent. Today, as software and hardware have become far more sophisticated, the best chess players in the world may come out on the losing end in a game of computer chess.
The Computer History Museum is just 1.8 miles from the Camino Inn and Suites. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM.