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Computation History is a project by the MIT Digital Humanities Lab. The project consists of attaining metadata from hundreds of mid-20th century documents from the MIT archives and analyzing them to better understand MIT's history in computation. The project aims to make the archives public through a website. Contributors are welcome to help us build our website and thus, offer accessible data to interested researchers worldwide.

Background: MIT recently announced the creation of the Schwarzman College of Computing to begin in 2019, affording the perfect opportunity as humanists to reflect on the history of computation at the Institute in the past. The project mixes archival work in the Institute's Archives and Special Collections with coding skills (including old computer simulation) to create a digital repository of information about how computing was integrated into the history of MIT. By not just focusing on principal figures such as Philip Morse but also the people who maintained the computers and facilitated their use, the Computation History project aims to give a deep and balanced insight into how computation has transformed the Institute, the humanities, and the world.

Getting Started: Getting Started walks you through the whole setup process including installing Python, Pycharm et. al. Setting up Django shows you how to setup django, populate your database, and run the webserver.

History of Computation at MIT, 1950-62

Copyright (c) 2018–19, MIT Programs in Digital Humanities

Released under the BSD-3-clause license

Physical document scans can be found in our Google Drive


Archival History of the MIT Computation Center



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