Remembering Computer Pioneer Max Mathews

April 23rd, the technology world lost a true pioneer, Max Mathews. This name might not mean much to you, but what he did was something that changed computers, music and voice forever. Mathews, often called the father of computer music, wrote the first program to enable a computer to synthesize sound and play it back. His first computer program was written for the IBM 704 mainframe computer when he was an engineer at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., in 1957. The video below is from 1961, the IBM 7094 became the first computer to sing, singing the song Daisy Bell. Vocals were programmed by John Kelly and Carol Lockbaum and the accompaniment was programmed by Max Mathews. This performance was the inspiration for a similar scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Selectric II

The granddaddy of video games lives on…Play Spacewar Online using HTML 5


In 1961, Steve “Slug” Russell, Martin “Shag” Graetz and Wayne Witaenem of the fictitious “Hingham Institute”, came up with the idea Spacewar. And by 1962, a hobbyist project on an early Digital Equipment PDP-1 computer, became a video game. Spacewars required lightning reflexes where each player used keyboard controls or a joystick to maneuver a tiny ship able to fire a stream of torpedoes as it slid across the screen. Now you can play it from the comfort of your browser

Why not give it a try.