Category Archives: Rudd’s Blog

A Crucial Decision

I’m sure we can all recall at least one turning point in our lives, where if we had made a different decision our lives probably would be quite different. If you could go back in time and make a different … Continue reading

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Heathkit and EICO

I spent ninth grade with my parents in Europe while my father was on sabbatical. Fascinated by electrical things but away from my workshop, all I could do was study, and so I taught myself about electronics. I describe this in another post. By … Continue reading

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Building DIR/ECT II

In 1975, when I was 37, I got my first and only job at Bell Labs which was not research. Bell Labs had written, a long time before, an elaborate software system, named DIR/ECT, used in printing white pages phone … Continue reading

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My Second Computer

In 1971 the first personal computer, the Kenbak-1, became available. Only 40 were sold. The real personal computer revolution started, I think, with the availability of the Altair computer kit in 1975 and the Apple 1 in 1976. Also, in … Continue reading

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Artificial Intelligence

After college I went to M.I.T. for my graduate work. I started at M.I.T. in 1959. I had to spend the first year and a half completing coursework for the Ph.D. qualifying exams and taking the exams. With that behind … Continue reading

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Early Turing-complete Computers

Before and during World War II all computers were special purpose machines, each designed to solve a particular war related problem. After the war computers continued to be invented at a rapid pace, but the focus shifted to general purpose … Continue reading

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Lessons in Management 1

Looking back over my career in graduate school and at Bell Labs, I am surprised to realize that even though I set out to be a software designer, most of my jobs involved teaching people or leading teams. In the … Continue reading

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Why were early computers so late?

When I was born, in 1938, there were no computers. The word “computer” meant a person who used a calculator. I don’t know why computers did not exist then. The seeds had been planted well before. The first general-purpose computer … Continue reading

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Burroughs E101 – a weird computer

As a Sophomore at Harvard, in 1956-7, I audited an introductory course on computers. That is where I wrote my first program, for the Univac 1. In this course we studied a number of machines, from punched card tabulating machines … Continue reading

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My Home Built Computer

The first commercial microcomputer was the Intel 4004, introduced in 1971. It cost $60, which is $350 in today’s money. These devices fascinated me, but $350 was too much to spend on something of no practical value. Then in 1976 … Continue reading

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