Dr. Tom Misa will explain “Minnesota as a ‘Digital State’: Or, How the Nation’s First Computer Industry was Born in a St. Paul Radiator Shop” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, in the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center on the St. Paul campus of the University of St. Thomas.

Dr. Thomas Misa

Dr. Thomas Misa

The talk is sponsored by the Selim Center for Learning in Later Years and it’s free to St. Thomas students, staff and faculty. You are asked to show your St. Thomas ID at the door.

Misa directs the University of Minnesota’s Charles Babbage Institute, a research center specializing in the history of information technology.

He describes his talk this way:

“For decades, Minnesota was home to one of the nation’s earliest centers of computing. By 1960 there were four large and successful companies – Univac, Control Data, Honeywell and IBSM Rochester – and dozens of smaller suppliers that created a vibrant computer industry here, a decade before ‘Silicon Valley’ was named in 1971.

“This remarkable history includes the computer industry’s sizable impact on employment, education and culture, as well as links to today’s thriving medical-devices industry.”

Misa is on the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. His recent books include Digital State: The Story of Minnesota’s Computing Industry (2013); Leonardo to the Internet: Technology and Culture From the Renaissance to the Present (2011); and Gender Codes: Why Women are Leaving Computing (2010).

More information about the Selim Center can be found on its website here.

Aerial view of Engineering Research Associates Inc. home at 1902 Minnehaha on St, Paul's East Side.

Aerial view of Engineering Research Associates Inc. home at 1902 Minnehaha on St, Paul’s East Side.