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The history of IBM - 100+ Years of Innovation by Mind Map: The history of IBM -
100+ Years of Innovation
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The history of IBM - 100+ Years of Innovation


1890: Punched cards

The U.S. Census Bureau contracts to use Herman Hollerith's punched card tabulating technology on the 1890 census, reducing a 10-year process to two years and saving the government $5 million.

Hollerith's punched cards become the tabulating industry standard for input for the next 70 years. Hollerith's Tabulating Machine Company is later merged into what becomes IBM.

1911: Formation

Charles Flint, a noted trust organizer, engineers the merger of four companies:, Tabulating Machine Company, International Time Recording Company, Computing Scale Corporation, Bundy Manufacturing Company

The combined Computing- Tabulating- Recording Company (C-T-R) manufactures and sells machinery ranging from commercial scales and industrial time recorders to meat and cheese slicers, along with tabulators and punched cards.

Based in New York City, the new company had 1,300 employees and offices and plants in Endicott and Binghamton, New York; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Washington, D.C.; and Toronto, Ontario.

1914: Watson arrives

Thomas J. Watson Sr. assumes the General Manager position for C-T-R.

Less than a year later he becomes President of the firm.

1914: First disabled employee

IBM hires its first disabled employee.

1915: "THINK" signs

IBM's ubiquitous "THINK" signs, based on the slogan coined by Thomas J. Watson, Sr., and are used in the company for the first time.

1916: Employee education

IBM invests in its employees and creates an education program.

Over the next two decades the program would expand to include management education, volunteer study clubs, and the construction of the IBM Schoolhouse in 1933

1923: IBM Germany

IBM acquires majority ownership of the German tabulating firm Deutsche Hollerith Maschinen Groupe

1924: International Business Machines Corporation

On February 14, 1924, C-T-R's name was formally changed to International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), to more accurately reflect the company's aspirations and mission.

The name was first used by the company's Canadian subsidiary in 1917.

1927: IBM Italy

IBM opens its first office in Italy in Milan, and starts selling and operating with National Insurance and Banks.

1933: 40-hour week

IBM introduces the 40-hour week for both manufacturing and office locations.

1934 – Group life insurance

IBM creates a group life insurance plan for all employees with at least one year of service.

1934: Elimination of piece-work

Watson, Sr., places IBM's factory employees on salary, eliminating piece-work and providing employees and their families with an added degree of economic stability

1934: Scientific computing

IBM partners with Columbia University to create the world's first tabulating machine data center dedicated to scientific research

The lab would be later named the Thomas J. Watson Astronomical Computing Bureau.

1934: IBM 801

The IBM 801 Bank Proof machine to clear bank checks is introduced

A new type of proof machine, the 801 lists and separates checks, endorses them, and records totals

It dramatically improves the efficiency of the check clearing process

1935: Social Security Administration

During the Great Depression, IBM keeps its factories producing new machines even while demand is slack

When Congress passes the Social Security Act in 1935, IBM – with its overstocked inventory – is consequently positioned to win the landmark government contract, which is called "the biggest accounting operation of all time

1937: IBM 805 test scoring machine

IBM's Rey Johnson designs the IBM 805 to greatly speed the process of test scoring

The 805's innovative pencil-mark sensing technology gives rise to the ubiquitous phrase, “Please completely fill in the oval.”

1937: Berlin conference

As president of the International Chamber of Commerce, Watson Sr., presides over the ICC's 9th Congress in Berlin

While there he accepts a Merit Cross of the German Eagle with Star medal from the Nazi government honoring his activities on behalf of world peace and international trade, He later returned it


1938: New headquarters

When IBM dedicates its new World Headquarters on 590 Madison Avenue, New York, New York, in January 1938, the company has operations in 79 countries

1942: Training for the disabled

IBM launches a program to train and employ disabled people in Topeka, Kansas

The next year classes begin in New York City, and soon the company is asked to join the President's Committee for Employment of the Handicapped

1943: Equal opportunity

IBM appoints its first female vice president

1944: ASCC

IBM introduces the world's first large-scale calculating computer, the Automatic Sequence Control Calculator (ASCC)

Designed in collaboration with Harvard University, the ASCC, also known as the Mark I, uses electromechanical relays to solve addition problems in less than a second, multiplication in six seconds, and division in 12 seconds

1944: United Negro College Fund

IBM President Thomas J. Watson, Sr., joins the Advisory Committee of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), and IBM contributes to the UNCF's fund-raising efforts

1945: IBM's first research lab

IBM's first research facility, the Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory, opens in a renovated fraternity house near Columbia University in Manhattan

In 1961, IBM moves its research headquarters to the T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York

1946: IBM 603

IBM announces the IBM 603 Electronic Multiplier, the first commercial product to incorporate electronic arithmetic circuits

The 603 used vacuum tubes to perform multiplication far more rapidly than earlier electromechanical devices

It had begun its development as part of a program to make a "super calculator" that would perform faster than 1944's ASCC by using electronics

1946: Chinese character typewriter

IBM introduces an electric Chinese ideographic character typewriter, which allowed an experienced user to type at a rate of 40 to 45 Chinese words a minute

The machine utilizes a cylinder on which 5,400 ideographic type faces are engraved

1946: First black salesman

IBM hires its first Black salesman, 18 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964

1948: IBM SSEC

IBM's first large-scale digital calculating machine, the Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC), is announced

The SSEC is the first computer that can modify a stored program, and featured 12,000 vacuum tubes and 21,000 electromechanical relays


1950s: Space exploration

From developing ballistics tables during World War II to the design and development of intercontinental missiles to the launching and tracking of satellites to manned lunar and shuttle space flights, IBM has been a partner to NASA and the aerospace industry

1952: IBM 701

IBM throws its hat into the computer business ring by introducing the 701, its first large-scale electronic computer to be manufactured in quantity

The 701, IBM President Thomas J. Watson, Jr., later recalled, is "the machine that carried us into the electronics business."

1952: Magnetic tape vacuum column

IBM introduces the magnetic tape drive vacuum column, making it possible for fragile magnetic tape to become a viable data storage medium

The use of the vacuum column in the IBM 701 system signals the beginning of the era of magnetic storage, as the technology becomes widely adopted throughout the industry

1952: First California research lab

IBM opens its first West Coast lab in San Jose, California: the area that decades later will come to be known as "Silicon Valley."

Within four years, the lab begins to make its mark by inventing magnetic storage systems

1953: Equal opportunity policy letter

Thomas J. Watson, Jr., publishes the company's first written equal opportunity policy letter: one year before the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education and 11 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964

1953: The first heart lung machine

Dr. John Gibbon and his associates, using an IBM-built heart-lung bypass machine, performs the first successful open-heart operation in which all the functions of the patient's heart and lungs are temporarily carried on by the machine

1953: IBM 650

IBM announces the IBM 650 Magnetic Drum Calculator, an intermediate size electronic computer, to handle widely diversified accounting and scientific computations

A hit with both universities and businesses, nearly 2,000 of the 650 are sold by 1962, making it the most popular computer of the 1950s: the “Model T” of computing

1954: NORC

IBM develops and builds the fastest, most powerful electronic computer of its time: the Naval Ordnance Research Computer (NORC): for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance

1956: First magnetic hard disk

IBM introduces the world's first magnetic hard disk for data storage

RAMAC (or Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) offers unprecedented performance by permitting random access to any of the million characters distributed over both sides of 50 two-foot-diameter disks

Produced in California, IBM's first hard disk stored about 2,000 bits of data per square inch and cost about $10,000 per megabyte

1956: Consent decree

The United States Justice Department enters a consent decree against IBM in 1956 to prevent the company from becoming a monopoly in the market for punched-card tabulating and, later, electronic data-processing machines

The decree requires IBM to sell its computers as well as lease them and to service and sell parts for computers that IBM no longer owned

1956: Corporate design

IBM hires noted designer Eliot Noyes and launches a formal corporate design program

1956: First European research lab

IBM opens its first research lab outside the United States, in the Swiss city of Zurich

1956: Changing hands

Watson Sr., retires and hands IBM to his son, Watson Jr.. Senior passes away soon after

1956: Williamsburg conference

Watson Jr., gathered some 100 senior IBM executives together for a special three-day meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia

The meeting resulted in a new organizational structure that featured a six-member corporate management committee and delegated more authority to business unit leadership

It was the first major meeting IBM had ever held without Thomas J. Watson Sr., and it marked the emergence of a second generation of IBM leadership

1956: Artificial intelligence

Arthur L. Samuel of IBM's Poughkeepsie, New York, laboratory programs an IBM 704 to play checkers using a method in which the machine can “learn” from its own experience

It is believed to be the first “self-learning” program, a demonstration of the concept of artificial intelligence


IBM revolutionizes programming with the introduction of FORTRAN (Formula Translator), which soon becomes the most widely used computer programming language for technical work

FORTRAN is still the basis for many important numerical analysis programs

1958: SAGE

The SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) computer is built under contract to MIT's Lincoln Laboratories for the North American Air Defense System

1958: Open Door program

First implemented by Watson, Sr., in the 1910s, the Open Door was a traditional company practice that granted employees with complaints hearings with senior executives, up to and including Watson, Sr., himself

IBM formalized this practice into policy in 1958 with the creation of the Open Door Program

1959: Speak up

A further example of IBM's willingness to solicit and act upon employee feedback, the Speak Up! Program was first created in San Jose

1959: IBM 1401

IBM introduces the 1401, the first high-volume, stored-program, core-memory, transistorized computer

Its versatility in running enterprise applications of all kinds helps it become the most popular computer model in the world in the early 1960s

1959: IBM 1403

IBM introduces the 1403 chain printer, which launches the era of high-speed, high-volume impact printing

The 1403 will not be surpassed for print quality until the advent of laser printing in the 1970s

1961: Stretch

IBM delivers its first 7030 Stretch supercomputer

Stretch fall short of its original design objectives, and is not a commercial success

But it is a visionary product that pioneers numerous revolutionary computing technologies which are soon widely adopted by the computer industry

1961: T.J. Watson Research Center

IBM moves its research headquarters from Manhattan to Westchester County, NY, opening the Thomas J. Watson Research Center which remains IBM's largest research facility, centering on semiconductors, computer science, physical science and mathematics

1961: THE IBM Selectric typewriter

IBM introduces the Selectric typewriter product line

Later Selectric models feature memory, giving rise to the concepts of word processing and desktop publishing

The machine won numerous awards for its design and functionality

1961: Report program generator

IBM offers its Report Program Generator, an application that allows IBM 1401 users to produce reports

This capability was widely adopted throughout the industry, becoming a feature offered in subsequent generations of computers

It played an important role in the successful introduction of computers into small businesses

1962: Basic beliefs

Drawing on established IBM policies, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., codifies three IBM basic beliefs: respect for the individual, customer service, and excellence

1962: SABRE

Two IBM 7090 mainframes formed the backbone of the SABRE reservation system for American Airlines

As the first airline reservation system to work live over phone lines, SABRE linked high speed computers and data communications to handle seat inventory and passenger records


1964: System/360

In the most important product announcement in company history to date, IBM introduces the IBM System/360: a new concept in computers which creates a "family" of small to large computers incorporating IBM-designed Solid Logic Technology (SLT) microelectronics and uses the same programming instructions

The concept of a compatible "family" of computers transforms the industry

1964: Word processing

IBM introduces the IBM Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter, a product which pioneered the application of magnetic recording devices to typewriting, and gave rise to desktop word processing

Referred to then as "power typing," the feature of revising stored text improved office efficiency by allowing typists to type at "rough draft" speed without the pressure of worrying about mistakes

1964: New corporate headquarters

IBM moves its corporate headquarters from New York City to Armonk, New York

1965: Gemini space flights

A 59-pound onboard IBM guidance computer is used on all Gemini space flights, including the first spaceship rendezvous

IBM scientists complete the most precise computation of the Moon's orbit and develop a fabrication technique to connect hundreds of circuits on a silicon wafer

1965: World Fair

The IBM Pavilion at the New York World's Fair closes, having hosted more than 10 million visitors during its two-year existence

1966: Memory chips

IBM invents one-transistor Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) cells which permit major increases in memory capacity

DRAM chips become the mainstay of modern computer memory systems: the “crude oil” of the information age is born

1966: System/4Pi

IBM ships its first System/4Pi computer, designed to meet U.S. Department of Defense and NASA requirements

More than 9000 units of the 4Pi systems are delivered by the 1980s for use in the air, sea, and space

1968: Customer Information Control System

IBM introduces the Customer Information Control System (CICS) transaction monitor

CICS remains to this day the industry's most popular transactions monitor

1969: Antitrust

The United States government launches what would become a 13-year-long antitrust suit against IBM

The suit becomes a draining war of attrition, and is eventually dropped in 1982

1969: Unbundling

IBM adopts a new marketing policy that charges separately for most systems engineering activities, future computer programs, and customer education courses

This "unbundling" gives rise to a multibillion-dollar software and services industry

1969: Magnetic stripe cards

The American National Standards Institute makes the IBM-developed magnetic stripe technology a national standard, jump starting the credit card industry

Two years later, the International Organization for Standardization adopts the IBM design, making it a world standard

1969: First moon landing

IBM personnel and computers help NASA land the first men on the Moon

1970: Relational databases

IBM introduces relational databases which call for information stored within a computer to be arranged in easy-to-interpret tables to access and manage large amounts of data

Today, nearly all database structures are based on the IBM concept of relational databases

1970: Office copiers

IBM introduces its first of three models of xerographic copiers

These machines mark the first commercial use of organic photoconductors which since grew to become the dominant technology

1971: Speech recognition

IBM achieves its first operational application of speech recognition, which enables engineers servicing equipment to talk to and receive spoken answers from a computer that can recognize about 5,000 words

Today, IBM's ViaVoice recognition technology has a vocabulary of 64,000 words and a 260,000-word back-up dictionary

1971: Floppy disk

IBM introduces the floppy disk

Convenient and highly portable, the floppy becomes a personal computer industry standard for storing data


1973: Winchester storage technology

The IBM 3340 disk unit—known as “Winchester” after IBM's internal project name—is introduced, an advanced technology which more than doubled the information density on disk surfaces

It featured a smaller, lighter read/write head that was designed to ride on an air film only 18 millionths of an inch thick

Winchester technology was adopted by the industry and used for the next two decades

1973: Nobel Prize

Dr. Leo Esaki, an IBM Fellow who joined the company in 1960, shares the 1973 Nobel Prize in physics for his 1958 discovery of the phenomenon of electron tunneling

His discovery of the semiconductor junction called the Esaki diode finds wide use in electronics applications

More importantly, his work in the field of semiconductors lays a foundation for further exploration in the electronic transport of solids

1974: SNA

IBM announces Systems Network Architecture (SNA), a networking protocol for computing systems

SNA is a uniform set of rules and procedures for computer communications to free computer users from the technical complexities of communicating through local, national, and international computer networks

SNA becomes the most widely used system for data processing until more open architecture standards were approved in the 1990s

1975: Fractals

IBM researcher Benoit Mandelbrot conceives fractal geometry—the concept that seemingly irregular shapes can have identical structure at all scales

This new geometry makes it possible to mathematically describe the kinds of irregularities existing in nature

The concept greatly impacts the fields of engineering, economics, metallurgy, art, health sciences, and computer graphics and animation

1975: IBM 5100 Portable computer

IBM introduces the 5100 Portable Computer, a 50 lb. desktop machine that put computer capabilities at the fingertips of engineers, analysts, statisticians, and other problem-solvers

More “luggable” than portable, the 5100 can serve as a terminal for the System/370 and costs from $9000 to $20,000

1976: Space shuttle

The Enterprise, the first vehicle in the U.S. Space Shuttle program, makes its debut at Palmdale, California, carrying flight computers and special hardware built by IBM

1976: Laser printer

The first IBM 3800 printer is installed

The 3800 is the first commercial printer to combine laser technology and electrophotography

The technology speeds the printing of bank statements, premium notices, and other high-volume documents, and remains a workhorse for billing and accounts receivable departments

1977: Data encryption standard

IBM-developed Data Encryption Standard (DES), a cryptographic algorithm, is adopted by the U.S. National Bureau of Standards as a national standard

1979: Retail checkout

IBM develops the Universal Product Code (UPC) in the 1970s as a method for embedding pricing and identification information on individual retail items

In 1979, IBM applies holographic scanner technology in IBM's supermarket checkout station to read the UPC stripes on merchandise, one of the first major commercial uses of holography

IBM's support of the UPC concept helps lead to its widespread acceptance by retail and other industries around the world

1979: Thin film recording heads

Instead of using hand-wound wire structures as coils for inductive elements, IBM researchers substitute thin film "wires" patterned by optical lithography

This leads to higher performance recording heads at reduced cost, and establishes IBM's leadership in "areal density": storing the most data in the least space

The result is higher-capacity and higher-performance disk drives

1979: Overcoming barriers to technology use

Since 1946, with its announcement of Chinese and Arabic ideographic character typewriters, IBM has worked to overcome cultural and physical barriers to the use of technology

As part of these ongoing efforts, IBM introduces the 3270 Kanji Display Terminal; the System/34 with an ideographic feature, which processes more than 11,000 Japanese and Chinese characters; and the Audio Typing Unit for sight-impaired typists

1980: Thermal conduction modules

IBM introduces the 3081 processor, the company's most powerful to date, which features Thermal Conduction Modules

In 1990, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., awards its 1990 Corporate Innovation Recognition to IBM for the development of the Multilayer Ceramic Thermal Conduction Module for high performance computers

1980: RISC architecture

IBM successfully builds the first prototype computer employing IBM Fellow John Cocke's RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) architecture

RISC simplified the instructions given to computers, making them faster and more powerful

Today, RISC architecture is the basis of most workstations and widely viewed as the dominant computing architecture

1981: IBM PC

The IBM Personal Computer goes mass market and helps revolutionize the way the world does business

A year later, Time Magazine gives its “Person of the Year” award to the Personal Computer

1981: Lasik surgery

Three IBM scientists invent the Excimer laser surgical procedure that later forms the basis of LASIK and PRK corrective eye surgeries

1982: Antitrust suit

The United States antitrust suit against IBM, filed in 1969, is dismissed as being "without merit."

1982: Trellis-coded modulation

Trellis-coded modulation (TCM) is first used in voice-band modems to send data at higher rates over telephone channels

Today, TCM is applied in a large variety of terrestrial and satellite-based transmission systems as a key technique for achieving faster and more reliable digital transmission

1983: PCjr

IBM announces the widely anticipated PCjr., IBM's attempt to enter the home computing marketplace

The product, however, fails to capture the fancy of consumers due to its lack of compatibility with IBM PC software, its higher price point, and its unfortunate ‘chiclet’ keyboard design

IBM terminates the product after 18 months of disappointing sales

1984: IBM 3480 magnetic tape system

The industry's most advanced magnetic tape system, the IBM 3480, introduces a new generation of tape drives that replace the familiar reel of tape with an easy-to-handle cartridge

The 3480 was the industry's first tape system to use “thin-film” recording head technology

1984: Sexual discrimination

IBM adds sexual orientation to the company's non-discrimination policy

IBM becomes one of the first major companies to make this change

1985: RP3

Sparked in part by national concerns over losing its technology leadership crown in the early 1980s, IBM re-enters the supercomputing field with the RP3

IBM researchers worked with scientists from the New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Science to design RP3, an experimental computer consisting of up to 512 processors, linked in parallel and connected to as many as two billion characters of main memory

Over the next five years, IBM provides more than $30 million in products and support to a supercomputer facility established at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York

1985: Token Ring Network

IBM's Token Ring technology brings a new level of control to local area networks and quickly becomes an industry standard for networks that connect printers, workstations and servers

1986: Almaden Research Center

IBM Research dedicates the Almaden Research Center in California

Today, Almaden is IBM's second-largest laboratory focused on storage systems, technology and computer science

1986: Nobel Prize: STM

IBM Fellows Gerd K. Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer of the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory win the 1986 Nobel Prize in physics for their work in scanning tunneling microscopy

Drs. Binnig and Rohrer are recognized for developing a powerful microscopy technique which permits scientists to make images of surfaces so detailed that individual atoms may be seen

1987: Nobel Prize: High Temperature Superconductivity

J. Georg Bednorz and IBM Fellow K. Alex Mueller of IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory receive the 1987 Nobel Prize for physics for their breakthrough discovery of high-temperature superconductivity in a new class of materials

They discover superconductivity in ceramic oxides that carry electricity without loss of energy at much higher temperatures than any other superconductor

1987: Antivirus tools

As personal computers become vulnerable to attack from viruses, a small research group at IBM develops, practically overnight, a suite of antivirus tools

The effort leads to the establishment of the High Integrity Computing Laboratory (HICL) at IBM

HICL goes on to pioneer the science of theoretical and observational computer virus epidemiology

1987: Special needs access

IBM Researchers demonstrate the feasibility for blind computer users to read information directly from computer screens with the aid of an experimental mouse

And in 1988 the IBM Personal System/2 Screen Reader is announced, permitting blind or visually impaired people to hear the text as it is displayed on the screen in the same way a sighted person would see it

This is the first in the IBM Independence Series of products for computer users with special needs

1988: AS/400

IBM introduces the IBM Application System/400 (AS/400), a new family of easy-to-use computers designed for small and intermediate-sized companies

As part of the introduction, IBM and IBM Business Partners worldwide announce more than 1,000 software packages in the biggest simultaneous applications announcement in computer history

The AS/400 quickly becomes one of the world's most popular business computing systems

1988: NSFNET

IBM collaborates with the Merit Network, MCI Communications, the State of Michigan, and the National Science Foundation to upgrade and expand the 56K bit per second National Science Foundation Network (NSFNET) to 1.5M bps (T1) and later 45M bps (T3)

This partnership provides the network infrastructure and lays the groundwork for the explosive growth of the Internet in the 1990s

The NSFNET upgrade boosts network capacity, not only making it faster, but also allowing more intensive forms of data, such as the graphics now common on the World Wide Web, to travel across the Internet

1989: Silicon germanium transistors

By replacing more expensive and exotic materials like gallium arsenide with silicon germanium (known as SiGe), IBM creates faster chips at lower costs

Introducing germanium into the base layer of an otherwise all-silicon bipolar transistor allows for significant improvements in operating frequency, current, noise and power capabilities

1990: System/390

IBM makes its most comprehensive product announcement in 25 years by introducing the System/390 family

IBM incorporates complementary metal oxide silicon (CMOS) based processors into System/390 Parallel Enterprise Server in 1995, and in 1998 the System/390 G5 Parallel Enterprise Server 10-way Turbo model smashed the 1,000 MIPS barrier, making it the world's most powerful mainframe

1990: RISC System/6000

IBM announces the RISC System/6000, a family of nine workstations that are among the fastest and most powerful in the industry

The RISC System/6000 uses Reduced Instruction Set Computer technology, an innovative computer design pioneered by IBM that simplifies processing steps to speed the execution of commands

1990: Moving individual atoms

IBM scientists discover how to move and position individual atoms on a metal surface, using a scanning tunneling microscope

The technique is demonstrated at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, where scientists created the world's first structure: the letters “I-B-M” — assembled one xenon atom at a time

1990: Environmental programs

IBM joins 14 other leading U.S. corporations in April to establish a worldwide program designed to achieve environmental, health and safety goals by continuously improving environmental management practices and performance

IBM has invested more than $1 billion since 1973 to provide environmental protection for the communities in which IBM facilities are located

1991: Services business

IBM reenters the computer services business through the formation of the Integrated Systems Solution Corporation

Still in compliance with the provisions of the 1956 Consent Decree, in just four ISSC becomes the second largest provider of computer services

The new business becomes one of IBM's primary revenue streams

1992: Thinkpad

IBM introduces a new line of notebook computers

Housed in a distinctive black case and featuring the innovative TrackPoint device nestled in the middle of the keyboard, the ThinkPad is an immediate hit and goes on to collect more than 300 awards for design and quality


1993: Billion dollar losses

IBM misreads two significant trends in the computer industry: personal computers and client-server computing: and as a result is poorly positioned in the marketplace

The misreads hit the bottom line hard: IBM loses more than $8 billion in 1993, its third straight year of billion dollar losses

Since 1991, the company has lost $16 billion, and many feel IBM is no longer a viable player in the industry

1993: Gerstner

Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. arrives as IBM's chairman and CEO on April 1, 1993

For the first time since the arrival of Thomas J. Watson, Sr., in 1914, IBM has a leader pulled from outside its ranks

Gerstner had been chairman and CEO of RJR Nabisco for four years, and had previously spent 11 years as a top executive at American Express

1993: Scalable Parallel Systems Technology

IBM introduces the Scalable POWERparallel System, the first in a family of microprocessor-based supercomputers using RISC System/6000 technology

IBM pioneers the breakthrough scalable parallel system technology of joining smaller, mass-produced computer processors rather than relying on one larger, custom-designed processor

Complex queries could then be broken down into a series of smaller jobs than are run concurrently (“in parallel”) to speed their completion

1994: Turnaround

IBM reports a profit for the year, its first since 1990

Over the next few years the company successfully charts a new business course, one that focuses less on its traditional strengths in hardware, and more on services, software, and its ability to craft technology solutions

1994: IBM RAMAC Array Storage Family

The IBM RAMAC Array Family is announced

With features like highly parallel processing, multi-level cache, RAID 5 and redundant components, RAMAC represents a major advance in information storage technology

Consisting of the RAMAC Array Direct Access Storage Device (DASD) and the RAMAC Array Subsystem, the products become one of IBM's most successful storage product launches ever, with almost 2,000 systems shipped to customers in its first three months of availability

1994: Speech recognition

IBM releases the IBM Personal Dictation System (IPDS), the first wave of speech recognition products for the personal computer

It is later renamed VoiceType, and its capabilities are expanded to include control of computer applications and desktops simply by talking to them, without touching a keyboard

In 1997 IBM announces ViaVoice Gold, software that gives people a hands-free way to dictate text and navigate the desktop with the power of natural, continuous speech

1994: Reinventing education

As part of IBM's reinvention of its corporate philanthropy function, the first of 10 grants is selected from 200 proposals for IBM's Reinventing Education Program, a project focusing on public school reform

Grant-winners receive the services of a project manager, consultants and researchers to create customized solutions designed to break down barriers to academic achievement

1995: Lotus acquisition

IBM acquires all of the outstanding shares of the Lotus Development Corporation, whose pioneering Notes software enables greater collaboration across an enterprise and whose acquisition makes IBM the world's largest software company

1995: Glueball calculation

IBM scientists complete a two-year calculation — the largest single numerical calculation in the history of computing — to pin down the properties of an elusive elementary particle called a “glueball.”

The calculation was carried out on GF11, a massively parallel computer at the Thomas J. Watson Research Center

1996: Austin research lab opens

Based in Austin, Texas, the lab is focused on advanced circuit design as well as new design techniques and tools for very high performance microprocessors

1996: Atlanta Olympics

IBM suffers a highly public embarrassment when its IT support of the Olympic Games in Atlanta experiences technical difficulties

1996: Domestic partner benefits

IBM announces Domestic Partner Benefits for gay and lesbian employees

1997: Deep Blue

The 32-node IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer, Deep Blue, defeats World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov in the first known instance of a computer vanquishing a reigning world champion chess player in tournament-style competition

1997: eBusiness

IBM coins the term and defined an enornous new industry by using the Internet as a medium for real business and institutional transformation

e-business becomes synonymous with doing business in the Internet age

1998: CMOS Gigaprocessor

IBM unveils the first microprocessor that runs at 1 billion cycles per second

IBM scientists develop new silicon-on-insulator chips to be used in the construction of a mainstream processor

The breakthrough ushers in new circuit designs and product groups

1999: Blue Gene

IBM Research starts a $100 million project to build a new supercomputer capable of more than one quadrillion operations per second (one petaflop)

Nicknamed "Blue Gene," the new supercomputer perform 500 times faster than other powerful supercomputers and can simulate folding complex proteins

2000: Nanotechnology

IBM scientists discover a way to transport information on the atomic scale that uses electrons instead of conventional wiring

This new phenomenon, called the "quantum mirage" effect, enables data transfer within future nanoscale electronic circuits too small to use wires

The quantum mirage technique is a unique way of sending information through solid forms and could do away with wiring that connects nanocircuit components

2000: Fastest supercomputer

IBM delivers the world's most powerful computer to the US Department of Energy, powerful enough to process an Internet transaction for every person on Earth in less than a minute

IBM built the supercomputer to accurately test the safety and effectiveness of the nation's aging nuclear weapons stockpile

This computer is 1,000 times more powerful than Deep Blue, the supercomputer that beat Garry Kasparov in chess in 1997

2000: Flexible transistors

IBM created flexible transistors, combining organic and inorganic materials as a medium for semiconductors

This technology enables things like an "electronic newspaper", so lightweight and inexpensive that leaving one behind on the airplane or in a hotel lobby is no big deal

By eliminating the limitations of etching computer circuits in silicon, flexible transistors make it possible to create a new generation of inexpensive computer displays that can be embedded into curved plastic or other materials

2000: Sydney Olympics

After a successful egagement at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, IBM ends its 40-year technology partnership with the International Olympic Committee

2001: Holocaust controversy

A controversial book, IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation by Edwin Black, accuses IBM of having knowingly assisted Nazi authorities in the perpetuation of the Holocaust through the provision of tabulating products and services

Several lawsuits are filed against IBM by Holocaust victims seeking restitution for their suffering and losses

2001: Carbon nanotube transistors

IBM researchers build the world's first transistors out of carbon nanotubes – tiny cylinders of carbon atoms that are 500 times smaller than silicon-based transistors and 1,000 times stronger than steel

The breakthrough is an important step in finding materials that can be used to build computer chips when silicon-based chips can’t be made any smaller

2001: Molecular computer circuit

IBM researchers create the world's first logic-performing computer circuit within a single molecule, which may lead to a new class of smaller and faster computers that consume less power than today's machines

2001: Low power initiative

IBM launches its low-power initiative to improve the energy efficiency of IT and accelerates the development of ultra-low power components and power-efficient servers, storage systems, personal computers and ThinkPad notebook computers

2001: Greater density & chip speeds

IBM is first to mass-produce computer hard disk drives using a revolutionary new type of magnetic coating – "pixie dust" – that eventually quadruples data density of current hard disk drive products

IBM also unveils “strained silicon," a breakthrough that alters silicon to boost chip speeds by up to 35 percent

2003: Blue Gene/L

The BLUE GENE team unveils a proto-type of its Blue Gene/L computer roughly the size of a standard dishwasher that ranks as the 73rd most powerful supercomputer in the world

This one cubic meter machine is small scale model of the full Blue Gene/L built for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which will be 128 times larger when it's unveiled two years later

2005: War on cancer

IBM joins forces with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), the Molecular Profiling Institute and the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center to collaborate on cancer research by building state-of-the-art integrated information management systems

2005: The PC division is sold

The PC division (including Thinkpads) is sold to Chinese manufacturer, Lenovo

2006: Translation software

IBM delivers an advanced speech-to-speech translation system to U.S. forces in Iraq using bidirectional English to Arabic translation software that improves communication between military personnel and Iraqi forces and citizens

The breakthrough software offsets the current shortage of military linguists

2007: Renewable energy

IBM is recognized by the US EPA for its leading green power purchases in the US and for its support and participation in EPA's Fortune 500 Green Power Challenge

IBM ranked 12th on the EPA's list of Green Power Partners for 2007. IBM purchased enough renewable energy in 2007 to meet 4% of its US electricity use and 9% of its global electricity purchases

IBM's commitment to green power helps cut greenhouse gas emissions

2007: River watch

In a unique collaboration, The Beacon Institute and IBM created the first technology-based river monitoring network

The River and Estuary Observatory Network (REON) allows for minute-to-minute monitoring of New York's Hudson River via an integrated network of sensors, robotics and computational technology

This first-of-its-kind project is made possible by IBM's "Stream Computing," a fundamentally new computer architecture that can examine thousands of information sources to help scientists better understand what is happening as it happens

2007: Patent power

IBM has been granted more US patents than any other company

From 1993 to 2007, IBM was awarded over 38,000 US patents and has invested about $5 billion a year in research, development and engineering since 1996

IBM's current active portfolio is about 26,000 patents in the US and over 40,000 patents worldwide is a direct result of that investment

2008: Super computer leadership

For a record-setting ninth consecutive time, IBM takes the No.1 spot in the ranking of the world's most powerful supercomputers

The IBM computer built for the "roadrunner project" at Los Alamos National Laboratory: the first in the world to operate at speeds faster than one quadrillion calculations per second: remains the world speed champion

The Los Alamos system is twice as energy efficient as the No. 2 computer, using about half the electricity to maintain the same level of computing power

2008: Green power

IBM opens its "greenest" data center in Boulder, Colorado

The energy efficient facility is part of a $350 million investment by IBM in Boulder to help meet customer demand for reducing energy costs

The new data center features leading-edge technologies and services, including high density computing systems with virtualization technology

Green Power centers allow IBM and its customers to cut their carbon footprint

2011: Watson

IBM's supercomputer Watson competed on the TV show Jeopardy against Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter