IEEE CS History: The 1950s

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During this decade, Maurice Wilkes created the concept of microprogramming, Grace Hopper developed the first compiler, the EDVAC ran the first production program, IBM launched the 701 Defense Calculator, and the COBOL development language was created.

Although the IEEE Computer Society traces its origins to the 1946 formation of the Subcommittee on Large-Scale Computing Devices (LCD) of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEE), it was the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE)'s formation of its Professional Group on Electronic Computers (PGEC) that made it an organization with many elements of the present Computer Society, without the technical and education committees.

Conferences were the most significant early activity, but publications grew rapidly with some 1,800 editorial pages generated during the decade. At the end of the fifties, the PGEC was IRE's largest professional group. It had 19 chapters across the US and 8,874 members, including 8,129 full members, 679 student members, and 66 affiliates.

The Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) forms its Professional Group on Electronic Computers (PGEC), which grows to 19 chapters and 8,874 members by decade's end on the strength of its conferences and publications. The Transactions on Electronic Computers is renamed to the IEEE Transactions on Computers, which is the longest-running IEEE journal.