Mainframes: The GE 225 and the Birth of BASIC

Command Line Heroes

Episode | Podcast

Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2020 08:05:02 +0000

<p>The computing industry started booming after World War II. General Electric’s CEO refused to enter that market. But a small team of rebel employees bent the rules to forge on in secret. They created the GE 225. It was a giant leap in engineering that pushed computing from a niche market to the mainstream—sowing the seeds for today’s tech industry. Before the creation of general-purpose mainframes, computers were often built to perform a single function. <a href="">William Ocasio</a> recalls how GE’s first specialized computers, the ERMA, helped banks process thousands of transactions per day. <a href="">John Joseph</a> recounts how a few key GE employees hoodwinked their CEO into creating a computing department. <a href="">Tomas Kellner</a> explains how their work resulted in a revolutionary machine—the GE 225. And <a href="">Joy Lisi Rankin</a> describes how engineers at Dartmouth College adapted the GE 225 for time-sharing and used it to create BASIC—major milestones in making computing more accessible.</p><p> If you want to read up on some of our research on mainframes, you can check out all our bonus material over at <a href=""> </a>. You’ll find extra content for every episode. Follow along with the <a href="">episode transcript</a>.</p>