When computers were human

When computers were human
David Alan Grier

"During the second world war, a "kilogirl" was a thousand hours of computation." -- The Guardian

David Alan Grier's recovery of the wonderfully rich story of human computers . . . ask[s] why human computers were made to disappear in the first place. . . . It is notoriously difficult to recover details of the lives of ordinary people. . . . But Grier triumphantly achieves his aim when discussing the twentieth-century human computer, as many are alive to tell their tales.
(Jon Agar Nature )

Prior to the advent of programmable data-processing electronic devices in the mid-20th century, the word computer was commonly used to describe a person hired to crank out stupefyingly tedious calculations. . . . Human computers have . . . been largely forgotten, and David Alan Grier . . . is intent on restoring them to their rightful place in history.
(Ann Finkbeiner Discover )

When Computers Were Human is a detailed and fascinating look at a world I had not even known existed.
(James Fallows, National Correspondent Atlantic Monthly )

The strength of this book is its breadth of research and its human touch. . . . [A] well written, informative and enjoyable work.
(Amy Shell-Gellasch MAA Reviews )

Overall, this book provides a wonderful survey of human computing from 1682 onward. . . . I recommend this book to all historians of computing, both professional and amateur.
(Jonathan P. Bowen IEEE Annals of the History of Computing )
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Product Details

* Paperback: 424 pages
* Publisher: Princeton University Press (August 27, 2007)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 0691133824
* ISBN-13: 978-0691133829

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