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How Minnesota led the way in computing long before Silicon Valley


Quick: Name the world's first computingcentered industrial district. If Silicon Valley leaps to mind, read the new book Digital State: The Story of Minnesota's Computing Industry, by Thomas J. Misa. A noted expert on computer history, Misa demonstrates that it was Minnesota, not California, that formed the first hotbed of high-tech companies. From the end of World War II through the 1970s, the state hosted a group of companies that figure large in the history of computing, including Univac, Honeywell, Cray Research, IBM Rochester, and Engineering Research Associates. Collectively such companies formed an unrivaled epicenter advancing digital technologies and nurtured the state's present-day medical device and software industries. These companies made their reputations by selling to the government or other industries, not to individual consumerswhich is why they lacked the kind of brand appeal later enjoyed by Apple, Intel, and others. Misa shows how Minnesota recognized and embraced the coming information age through its leading-edge companies, its workforce, and its prominent institutions. Find the book at upress.umn.edu.

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