For this week’s discussion question, my case study is Herman Hollerith- an individual whose contribution to computing in early years is still impactful till date. In my research, he was a teacher; an inventor, a manager, and business man… variously called the father of information processing, the father of modern automatic computation, and the world’s first statistical engineer. 1.Background
Herman Hollerith was born on 29th February, 1860 in Buffalo, New York to German immigrants. Early on in life after many struggles in his studies, he enrolled into the City College of New York and later was awarded a degree from the Columbus School of mines New York at age 19. Below is a brief description of Herman in various capacities:- A.As a Teacher, he taught mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he carried out his first experiment with punched cards. B.As an inventor, he developed a mechanical tabulator based on punched cards to tabulate millions of pieces of data. This tabulator was later used in a competition setup by the Census Bureau for automating data against two other systems where his methods was not only a clear winner in cutting processing time, saving taxpayers millions of dollars, but also a procedure used well into the 1960s.
He also worked on railroad braking systems, invented the first automatic card-feed mechanism and the first key punch (that is, a punch operated by a keyboard) and a wiring panel that allowed a tabulator to do different jobs without being rebuilt amongst other inventions. C.As a Manager and Business Man, he founded the Tabulating Machine Company on December 3, 1896 after which later merged with three other corporations in 1911 to form a company known as Computing Tabulating Recording Company (C.R.T which was later renamed under the presidency of Thomas J. Watson as International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in 1924).
Herman Hollerith invented and developed a punch-card tabulation machine system that revolutionized statistical computation. His invention was widely used for censuses in England, Italy, Germany, Russia, Austria, Canada, France, Norway, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Philippines.
In conclusion, just as Herman Hollerith’s designs for tabulating and sorting machines, and the key punch became the standard for the information processing/computing industry for over a century, the same applies to modern-day census, where his methods which have evolved and improved upon over the years are among the foundations of the modern information processing industry. So credit should be given to Herman Hollerith for inventions which has drastically reduced processing time and saved taxpayers money.
Nancy, G. Article on Mechanism-Systems-Devices
O’Connor, J.J.; Robertson, E.F. “Herman Hollerith”. The MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive. School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved 5 March 2013. Thomas, J.B. (2012) Herman Hollerith and the Evolution of Electronic Accounting Machines https://www.asme.org/engineering-topics/articles/mechanisms-systems-devices/herman-hollerith http://www.invent.org/hall_of_fame/80.html