A Half-Century of Hypertext at Brown: A Symposium

Event type: 
MacMillan Hall
176 Thayer Street
02912 Providence
United States
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Short description: 

This spring, Brown CS will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the official founding of the department. But as we know, CS started as an informal track within Applied Math more than a decade before that. One of the earliest themes of the pre-department days was “Hypertext.” When the first project started back in 1967, hypertext –non-sequential writing and linked documents – was a concept known by probably fewer than 100 people in the world. Fast-forward 52 years, and 4.4 billion people -- more than half of the Earth's population -- uses hypertext on a regular basis.
Brown CS and Brown in general had a significant impact on the hypertext revolution. Recently, at the request of the Computer History Museum, two “ancient” Brown systems have been resurrected and are running again. FRESS, started five decades ago, is running on an emulated IBM/370 mainframe with an emulated Imlac graphics terminal replacement. IRIS Intermedia, started three decades ago and presumed lost, was discovered on an old disk drive; it has been restored and is running on actual 30-year-old Macintosh hardware. The revival of both of these led to the idea of having a symposium around Commencement time, to show these two systems plus as many additional Brown hypertext systems from the past half-century as possible and to discuss the impact they have had on the pervasiveness of hypertext in the world today. The Symposium will feature live demos of more than half-a-dozen systems ranging from 1967 to the present, as well as content from courses taught with these systems.

Critical writing presented:

Title Author Tags
First Half-Century of Electronic Literature at Brown Robert Coover, Robert Arellano hypertext, electronic literature history, history, brown university
Record posted by: 
Scott Rettberg
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