Professor Walter Freiberger of the applied math department and his students take a look at Brown’s first computer, an IBM 650, in 1956. The 650 was the world’s first mass-produced computer, and its memory was on a rotating magnetic drum. Back then, “mass-produced computer” meant something a little different: only 2,000 IBM 650s were made over nine years, starting in 1953 (the first one was sold in 1954). Brown’s 650 was one of only 300 in the world at the time. IBM originally projected that it would sell just 50 of the newfangled machines.

Brown Archives