"O'Reilly Network: What should an OSCON
attendee expect to understand after your keynote?
"George Dyson: OSCON (as I understand it)
consists of people who are working in the digital universe
(including its open and less-open subsystems) of today. My
contribution (as a historian, or, in this case, more of a
paleontologist) is to offer a firsthand glimpse into the birth of
this universe, a little over 50 years ago. When von Neumann's
engineers here at the Institute for Advanced Study started building
the first 5,000 bytes of high-speed random-access memory in 1946,
it was an empty universe, completely devoid of code. By the time
they got the machine running, in 1951, both code and data were
waiting, and the machine was operated more or less without
interruption until it was shut down (in 1958) having been
superseded by its offspring all around the globe..."