Harvard University

Women in Technology



A Managing Information Systems Presentation

Script:
Introduction [SLIDE 1] Information technology has come a long way before it got to where it is today. Whatever the case is, it has been the language that society has often identified as a means to communicate with one another.
In this presentation, I Karen, alongside Ka Man, and Jason, will be presenting the historical evolution of information technology, as well as sharing with you some of the most influential women of IT, and provide information on how these women’s roles have shaped modern day information technology.
The purpose of this presentation is to give our viewers a brief insight of information technology and how it’s revolutionized the 21st-century.

What is IT? [SLIDE 2] Information technology is often associated with computer hardware, networking, software, electronics, the internet, e-commerce, telecom equipment, and computer services. Sounds a lot right? Well the reason why information technology is associated with multiple processes is due to its innovated purpose to function as support to assist humans in storing, retrieving, manipulating and communicating information.
This is why; in 1958 Harold J. Leavitt alongside Thomas L. Whisler wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review and created a new term that would express those processes mentioned earlier by introducing it as “information technology” which they defined in three categories (Leavitt, H.J., & Whisler, T.L., 1958). That is:
1. Techniques for processing,
2. The application of statistical and mathematical methods to decision-making, and
3. The simulation of higher-order thinking through computer programs

The Evolution of Information Technology [SLIDE3] Ever since, humans started to walk the face of the earth, information technology was already ingrained. This is due to the need for humans to associate themselves and communicate with other individuals or other groups, in which tools (which would be the technology available in that age) were often used to communicate information.
The history of information technology is broken down into four main ages. That is the Premechanical age, the mechanical age, the electromechanical age, and the electronic age. While there are four stages of development that encompasses the history of information technology, only the last two—electromechanical and electronic have been the most significant period in establishing what we recognize as information technology today (Open Book Project, 2014).
1. Premechanical age – during the time between 3000B.C. and 1450A.D. Consists of:
a. The first time humans had ever started communicating using language,
b. Developing the Phoenician alphabet, and
c. Drawing pictures called Petroglyths, which were usually carved on rocks
2. Mechanical age – during the time between 1450 and 1840. Consists of
a. The explosion of innovations through the integration of mathematics,
b. First signs of humans building mechanical computers, such as the Pascaline, and the difference engine
c. Most machines unlike our multi function calculators, were only able to do one type of calculation
3. Electromechanical age – during the time between 1840 and 1940. Consists of:
a. the very first innovations that resemble modern-day technology
b. first forms of telecommunication. Telegraph. Telephone, and radio—which have all played a vital role in advancing the information technology industry
c. It was also the period in which the first large-scale automatic digital computer was invented, and was called the Mark 1 created by Harvard University. It was 8ft high, 50ft long, 2ft wide, and weighed 5 tons—much, much, much larger than the computers we are familiar with today, and was programmed by using punch cards
4. Electronic age – defined as the time between 1940—at present. Consists of:
a. The age of digital computing, where the invention of the first high-speed, digital computer capable of being reprogrammed to solve a full range of computing problems was invented and was call the ENIAC, which was used by the U.S. Army for artillery firing tables, and was much lager than the Mark 1 at 680sq. ft. and weighing 30 tons.
b. Digital computing is divided into 4 eras from oldest to newest consisting of:
i. Vacuum tubes, punch cards, and Rotating magnetic drums, used for internal storage
ii. Transistors, magnetic tape, and magnetic cores for internal storage.
iii. Integrated circuits, magnetic tape, metal oxide semiconductors
iv. CPUs (central processing units), containing memory, logic, control circuit. Developing the first pc, and graphical user interface (GUI)

References:
Leavitt, H.J., & Whisler, T.L., (1958). Management in the 80’s. Harvard Business Review, pp. 41.48

Open Book Project. (2014). History of Information Technology. Retrieved from Open Book Project: http://openbookproject.net/courses/intro2ict/history/history.html

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