Delving into the history of federal computing can lead to intriguing side trips, such as the book collections of the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. The museum, with a site at, has scanned and entered some early surveys of systems available at the dawn of the modern computing era and other artifacts.

One example is an image of Herman Hollerith's patent for his original tabulating machine, which laid the groundwork for Census Bureau statistical work. Another is a 1952 study by the Navy Mathematical Computing Advisory Panel on Commercially Available General Purpose Electronic Digital Computers of Moderate Price. It states, 'Within the past year ... a number of manufacturers have developed smaller, more compact (usually slower) automatic computers for sale at less than $100,000.'

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