Becoming Universal: A New History of Modern Computing


We will have a joint IEEE Computer Society Chicago hybrid meeting with ACM Chicago (yes it is in-person!) on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at 6 PM at Loyola University Lakeshore Campus.  For more details, visit the ACM Chicago Meetup page at and click Attend if you will be attending in-person or go to the External Registration link below.  Please check the meetup page for COVID-19 policies before you arrive.  The meeting will also be streamed on Zoom as well for those who want to attend online at  

For those coming in-person, signed copies of the book by our speaker will be available for purchase with cash or credit card.

  Date and Time




  • Date: 18 May 2022
  • Time: 06:00 PM to 08:00 PM
  • All times are (UTC-06:00) Central Time (US & Canada)
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  • 1032 W Sheridan Rd
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • United States
  • Building: Cuneo Hall
  • Room Number: CH 210


Thomas Haigh of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Becoming Universal: A New History of Modern Computing - LIVE/Hybrid Event

Over the past fifty years, the computer has been transformed from a hulking scientific supertool and data processing workhorse, remote from the experiences of ordinary people to a diverse family of devices that billions rely on to play games, shop, stream music and movies, communicate, and count their steps. In A New History of Modern Computing (MIT Press, 2021), co-authors Thomas Haigh and Paul Ceruzzi traced these changes to recount how these transformations and the community of users and producers remade the computer into something new.

The book tells the history of electronic computing as a series of transitions, in which particular groups of users remake the computer to fit their needs whether as a scientific tool, a real-time control system, a communications medium, or a publishing platform.
Our speaker, Thomas Haigh, will summarize some of the key features of the new book, looking both at the specific choices made in structuring the first new scholarly overview history of computing to appear in decades and at the general insights of the history of computing community that the authors were able to draw on in writing the book.


Thomas Haigh is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Comenius Visiting Professor at Siegen University, and the coauthor of ENIAC in Action: Making and Remaking the Modern Computer (MIT Press).
Tom is the columnist for “Historical Reflections” in the ACM flagship journal, Communications of the ACM. His articles in CACM include “Becoming Universal” (2/2022), “Hey Google, What’s a Moonshot”, and “The Tears of Donald Knuth”.


(Times are Central Standard Time)
6:00pm - brief intros
6:05pm - Talk by Thomas Haigh
7:10 pm – Q&A
7:30 pm - end