Module 1: Mind & Machine

From Expert Operators to Everyday Computer Users

Exhibits Under Construction

In this module, we focus on the computer as mechanical object. The target audience of this module is current and prospective University of Michigan IT developers and researchers, although technology consumers, interested in history, will also be draw to it. Mind & Machine will focus on the ways in which IT developers worked to make dearly analog computing processes emulate human thought, laying the groundwork for digital computers we use today.  It will also detail advancements in interface design, moving from interfaces requiring expert knowledge to more user-friendly systems that are now commonplace. The movement from abstract functions, conceived by IT developers, to useful technological tools, accessible to consumers is at the core of this module. Being at the forefront of IT development has placed Michigan in a role where developers had little notion of how their advancements would eventually be applied. Content will be conveyed through oral histories of IT developers and users of merging technologies. Additionally, access to physical objects and documentation will give visitors a feel for the scale of early computers, and the expertise required to interact with them. Collections chosen to be acquired for an interpreted in this module will provide examples of the computer’s transition from mechanical object to digital device, and the Michigan contributors to such advancements.

We have chosen the MIDC as the first exhibit in the Mechanisms of Learning module. The exhibit itself is under construction, but our research about CRISP has been posted. We also invite contributions via the MIDAC Wiki. You can also propose additions to the Module on the Mind & Machine Wiki.


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Michigan Digital Automatic Computer (MIDAC) was a research project with a military purpose. The massive system could solve complex problems, but it took teams of experts and tons of refrigeration equipment.

Contribute to the Module

Module Wiki

Do you have other ideas for the Mind & Machine Module? If you were involved with an IT project at Michigan that pushed computing capability, let us know so we can add it to our collection.

Exhibit Structure

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Diagram that describes the interpretive goals and structure of the Museum's Content Modules

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