The Memory Management Reference
Articles
History

 Contents | News | Glossary | FAQ | Articles | Bibliography | Links | Feedback

This is a brief history of memory management.

1801

First memory(1) device invented by Joseph-Marie Jaquard, in the form of perforated cards for a programmable loom.

1833-

Charles Babbage designs his Analytical Engine, a steam-powered, general-purpose, mechanical computer with brass gears as internal memory and punched cards for input. The design is never constructed.

1884

Herman Hollerith applies for a patent for his punched-card machines.

1938

Konrad Zuse constructs an electromechanical computer in Germany.

1943

Colossus, a vacuum-tube device for breaking codes at Bletchley Park in Britain, becomes the first all-electronic calculating device. It uses paper tape for input with optical readers.

1947-48

Magnetic drums are introduced.

1949

EDSAC started up at Cambridge University in Britain. This is the first Von Neumann or "stored-program" machine, where the instructions are stored in the same type of memory as data.

1949

First tests of magnetic disks.

1952

RCA Bizmac produced with iron-core memory and a magnetic drum.

1953

The first magnetic tape drive produced.

IBM 650 produced, the first mass-produced drum-memory machine.

1957

First Fortran compiler delivered, with static allocation only.

Disk memory produced, for the IBM305 RAMAC.

1958

Heap allocation, garbage collection and Lisp invented by John McCarthy.

Algol, the first block-structured language, appears, providing stack allocation.

1961

Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) available, the first system with paging.

1962

Atlas available, the first computer with virtual memory(1).

1965

Maurice Wilkes and Gordon Scarott propose the use of cache memory.

1967

Simula becomes the first object-oriented language.

1969

Intel announce a 1 kilobit RAM chip.

1970

Intel produce the 1103, the first generally available DRAM.

1970

Prolog invented by Alain Colmerauer.

1971

IBM produce the 8-inch floppy disk.

Intel produce the 1701 erasable ROM.

Intel 4004 produced, the first commercially available microprocessor.

1972

C designed by Dennis Ritchie.

5.25-inch floppy disks appear.

1974

Intel produce the 8080 microprocessor, which can access 64 kB of memory.

1975

Tri-color marking invented by E. W. Dijkstra and others, the first incremental garbage collection algorithm.

1979

First digital video disks from Sony and Philips.

1980

Winchester hard drive produced by Alan Shugart, the first large storage device for PCs.

1981

IBM decides that no PC user will ever need more that 640 kB of memory.

1983

Generational garbage collection developed by Lieberman and Hewitt.

1984

Generational garbage collection used for Smalltalk by Dave Ungar.

1991

Scheme standardized; first garbage-collected language with an international standard.

1995

Java announced by a team of Sun engineers led by James Gosling.

2002

New COBOL standard includes garbage collection.