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"Learn Earn and Return"

Digital Equipment Corporation

        Co-Founder's Memoir



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Anderson with a control console for the PDP-1 Computer

    Computer Pioneer Harlan E. Anderson's computer story

begins in Illinois in 1950.

As a student he was writing machine language code for the Illiac computer before it existed.

His First Computer Engineering job was in 1952 at M.I.T.

His first job out of college was to work as a young engineer on a giant military computer network known as the SAGE sysem for the air defence of North America. This network of computers provided man machine interaction in real time and connected many computers and radars together for the first time. When deployed in the field it became the backbone of North American defence for twenty years during the cold war

He Co-Founds Digital Equipment Corporation in 1957

In 1957 he co-founds Digital Equipment Corporation with Ken Olsen, his long time co-worker and boss at M.I.T. Digital brought to the commercial world many of the computer  features that had been pionered in the military work at M.I.T. such as man machine interaction, video screens, time sharing and communications in real time. In addition the companies products were among the first to use transistors. The companies spectacular growth (without acquisitions) at its peak made it the second largest computer company in the world after I.B.M. It became the first home run of venture capital, reflecting the initial $70,000 investment of American Research and Development Corporation which grew to a value of $400,000,000.  

 

Anderson Leaves Digital in 1966

After a painful split with Olsen after 14 years together (five at M.I.T. and nine at Digital) Anderson resigns from Digital. Many years later when company fails, Olsen is fired and Anderson writes an Appendix for his memoir about the Rise and Fall of a Computer Empire

 

Life After Digital

Anderson starts a new career in venture capital and philanthropy

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