• 30 December 2006
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1956-1965: The Beginning

1956: The first digital computer comes to India, as the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata installs a Hollerith Electronic Computer, HEC-2M, brought from England. Initially, it handled a number of scientific problems from all across the country, including trajectory analysis for artillery cannons for the Defense. It was, in fact, the first computer brought to Asia, outside of Japan.

1960: The Operations Research Group (ORG) set up by Vikram Sarabhai, the first market research organization in the country created to expedite a scientific approach to collect and scrutinize information for supporting and optimizing business operations.

AK Watson comes visiting and meets prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. In fact, it was at Nehru's insistence that IBM opened up office in India in 1951.

1958: ISI installs the URAL digital computer brought from Russia with a grant from United Nations Technical Assistance Board (UNTAB). Both HEC-2M and URAL were used by ISI till 1964 when IBM installed the 1401. Dr Dwijish Datta Majumdar, Prof MM Mukherjee and Prof Amaresh Roy were the pioneers in running both HEC-2M and URAL.

1959: TIFRAC, India's first indigenous computer developed at TIFR, was commissioned. It was used extensively between 1960-64 by TIFR, BARC and a number of other government laboratories, educational institutions and private organizations.

1961: India's first commercial computer installed by ESSO Standard Eastern of Bombay.

1962: The Defense Ministry sets up a Computer Center under Major General Balasubrahmanian (then only a major) from the Army Services Corps; he is also appointed technical secretary of the Advisory Group on Computers in Defense.

1963: Under the guidance of the eminent economist, John K Galbraith, IIT-Kanpur becomes the first institute in India to start Computer Science education on an IBM 1620 system, then a novelty even in many North American and European universities.

Following the Chinese War, the Government feels the need for a strong indigenous electronics base for security and national development. Sets up an Electronics Committee under the Chairmanship of Dr Homi J Bhaba.

1964: The ISIJU, the first indigenous digital computer, developed in India through a joint collaboration between the ISI and Jadavpur University. It was a second generation advanced machine that was transistor-driven.

1965: The Computer Society of India (CSI) founded in Hyderabad with Prof. R Narsimhan as the Founding President and Major General Balasubrahmanian as the Founding Secretary. The first CSI Convention is organized in Kolkata.

Prof HN Mahabala starts the Computer Science division at IIT-Kanpur. Prof V Rajaraman devises its program and guides its future growth as Head of Computer Center division.

  • TIFR, Bombay acquires CDC 3600

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