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International Histories of Innovation and Invention

History of Computing Conference Coming to NYU in May 2016


The NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering will host an international conference dedicated to the history of computing in May 2016. The meeting, held as part of the International Federation for Information Processing Working Group 9.7, will gather historians and digital professionals who will reflect upon the histories that foreground the international computing community.

“Especially today, the history of how computing developed the way it has is especially important,” says Arthur Tatnall, Chair of the Working Group 9.7. “This Conference – with the intriguing title of ‘International Communities of Invention and Innovation’ – will look particularly at how developing and using computers evolved, and how this relates to our current age of growing inter-connectivity among nations.”

Because the Conference is coming to the School of Engineering, the Working Group 9.7 will adjust its format to better foster conversations between historians and technical professionals.

Those who wish to prepare full papers and be considered for inclusion in the proceedings will circulate their papers in advance of the Conference to ensure an informed discussion. Technical professionals, who have been invigorating previous Conferences, are explicitly encouraged to participate in the proceedings conducted in a roundtable format, which does not require submission of a full academic paper.

The Conference Chair is Christopher Leslie, Co-Director of the Science and Technology Studies  department at the NYU School of Engineering. Through this Conference, he aims to promote the history of computing that goes beyond the perspective of only one nation.

“The developers of the first computers and computer networks were members of the international community,” says Leslie. “IFIP is the right group to consider their perspective, and the School of Engineering is the right venue to promote the ways in which the global community has influenced computer technology.”

The Conference is scheduled to run from May 25 until May 29, 2016. The deadline for consideration in the Conference program is January, 8 2016. The call for papers is focused around four broad themes: invention, policy, infrastructure, and social history.

For more information, please see the Conference website.


IFIP, the International Federation for Information Processing, was founded in 1960. It is a nongovernmental organization dedicated to information and communication technologies and sciences. It sponsors fourteen committees primarily of a technical nature. Technical Committee 9, however, is dedicated to ICT and Society. The organizer of this conference is TC9’s Working Group 7, which focuses on the history of computing.