Minnesota's Rich History in Computing & Technology

From military technology and supercomputers to the biggest names in computers and technology today, Minnesota has long been at the epicenter of the high-tech computing industry. Learn about Minnesota’s role in computing history.

Solid State: Minnesota's High-Tech History

Born for espionage in World War II, the computer has touched nearly every part of human life. And for decades Minnesota was the global epicenter of computing as birthplace of the supercomputer and home to Univac, Control Data, IBM Rochester, and Honeywell. Produced in partnership with MHTA, with major funding from Seagate Technology.

Watch the full Documentary on TPT

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The Minnesota Computing History Project

For most people, Minnesota is not the state that comes to mind when they think about computing. However, the Land of 10,000 Lakes is home to a number of important innovations that have contributed to the development of computer hardware, software, and services. Such achievements have remained hidden, in part, because Minnesota’s early computer companies built much of their business around making classified machines for the U.S. military. Developments that stemmed from such projects, like advances in computer memory, speed, and reliability, moved into the commercial sphere, but the classified nature of their origins has obscured the state’s contributions.

The Minnesota Computing History Project works to uncover the state’s role in the evolution and advancement of computing technologies. Starting with St. Paul-based Engineering Research Associates in the late 1940s, the website explores the innovative companies, exciting personalities, and revolutionary technologies that have shaped the state’s computing scene. It uses interactive timelines, essays, and videos to help reveal the state’s hidden history, relying heavily on archival materials in this process. In so doing, the site also serves as a guide to the many archival collections related to the history of computing that are available to the public in Minnesota and beyond.

Ready to learn the history of computing in Minnesota?

Visit mncomputinghistory.com