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December 2009 Conference Call

History Committee Conference Call, December 2, 2009, 3:30-4:20PM 3:00-4:00PM Eastern Time

: Martin Campbell-Kelly, Brent Hailpern, Mary Hall, Carol Hutchins, Tom Misa, Len Shustek, Rick Snodgrass, and David S. Wise
  1. Turing Centennial.

  2. Martin reported that the Advisory Committee for this centennial has been formed, with 30-40 people on it. They've started a Facebook page, but there has been little activity. The website is

    The British Computer Society has a Computer Conservation Society which is the equivalent of ACM's History Committee. They are expected to have an announcement this December.

    The Society publishes a quarterly bulletin Resurrection which you will find on the website. However, the CCS is not primarily interested in the BCS's history, but is more generally interested in British computer history, and particularly restoring old computers. The CCS has close links with the London Science Museum and the recently formed National Museum of Computing, where the restored computers are displayed.

    Martin felt that January 2012 would be a good time frame to announce the reenergized Turing Award website.

    Martin will keep the HC apprised on the activities of the advisory committee and on the CCS activities.

    He also encouraged the HC to check out the Nobel website before the face-to-face meeting, as a great example.

  3. Top Secret Rosies video financing

  4. The HC has been approached by Jacquelyn Martino to help fund an documentary on the original (human) computers, for $10K. (IEEE has already contributed $10K. Note that there's also a CHM video, Someone at ACM rejected this proposal, but it is not known who.)

    We felt that this was somewhat peripheral to the HC, but that as we are the one body that is concerned with history at ACM, we should consider it.

    Here is the info on this project: and

    POLICY: The HC will evaluate proposals for computer history projects if brought to the HC, but only for possible endorsement and referral to a relevant part of ACM for funding. The HC will not seek out such proposals.

  5. Bob Ashenhurst collection and future archiving policy

  6. Bob was CACM editor from April 1983 to January 1993; his paper holdings probably have a wealth of historical material on that illustrious period.

    This topic is of central interest to the HC, as it concerns ACM's history. We'll convey the sentiment that some of this material could be of great interest to ACM. The hope is that the U Chicago archive will highlight the ACM connection.

    POLICY: If materials of possible relevance to the history of ACM become known to the HC, it will attempt to ascertain the best recipient and will encourage the appropriate archiving of that material, so that it is made available to the historical scholarly community.

  7. Fellowship

  8. We discussed Tom's proposal, specifically, how to best make available to historians the deliverable of the 10-15 page paper.

    We will continue to discuss this and to work on specific topics for such a fellowship, at the next meeting. [Tom sent out a second draft right after the meeting.]

    The next conference call, which will be January 6, 2010 at 3pm EST.