Software History Center

The Software History Center collects and preserves historical software, archives, and oral histories. The center explores people-centered stories, documents software-in-action, and leverages the Museum’s rich collections to tell the story of software. The center seeks to put history to work today in gauging where we are, where we have been, and where we are heading.

Understanding AI

Understanding human intelligence and how computers might act intelligently spans the entire history of computing. Machine learning now predominates artificial intelligence. Trained on large data sets, deep neural networks perform remarkable acts, from recognizing speech and faces to driving trucks and identifying tumors. Through oral history, collections, and conversation CHM is exploring valuable perspectives for today and tomorrow from the long history of artificial intelligence.

Historical Source Code

CHM is committed to building and preserving a broad collection of historical software. While this collection includes all forms, we especially emphasize source code—that is, software as it is written by people. Source code reveals how programmers solved problems and is a form of expression with its own idioms and styles. We collect and make public source code for historical software that has changed the world.

Source code releases

Software in Action

Software is made to run; it is what computers do. This makes computing a dynamic process. It happens when someone runs software on the right hardware. But what about computing of the past? At CHM we match experts with software and hardware to capture the dynamic process of historical computing. We create careful video documentation of key figures as they operate and discuss historical software on restored original hardware.

Software History Center Highlights



To learn more or to get involved, please contact the CHM Software History Center


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