Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

An electrical engineer by training, Vannevar Bush is credited with having the idea of hypertext or "instant cross-referencing," decades before the term itself was conceived by Ted Nelson and before the concept was widely implemented on the World Wide Web. In an article in The Atlantic Monthly in 1945, Bush described his proposed "memex" device, an electronic stored-information system, an aide-de-memoire for mankind. Humans, Bush argued, have associative memories where information is accessed by following a series of mental links and pathways. His hypertext system incorporated this idea, allowing users to tie information together logically as well as to annotate it and link the annotations to the body of data already present.

The bulk of Bush's career was spent at MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering where he became Dean. His mathematical work for the military during World War Two led to his invention of the first analog computer, the Rockefeller Differential Analyser, soon rendered obsolete by the first digital computers (whose invention was spurred by the work of one of the RDA's engineers - Claude Shannon). The Differential Analyser was notable for its use of decimal rather than the binary number system. As an advisor to several presidents, Bush was arguably the most powerful scientist in the post-war United States. He was the driving force behind the founding of the National Science Foundation.

In 1980, the National Science Board established the Vannevar Bush award to honor those scientists who make outstanding contributions to the public service. Bush's primary legacy remains that of the hypertext concept - he is remembered as a forefather of the World Wide Web .

This was last updated in March 2008
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • disruptive technology

    - A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry. Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen coined the term.  In his 1997 best-sell... (WhatIs.com)

  • application program interface (API)

    - An application program interface (API) is code that allows two software programs to communicate with each other. Typically, APIs are released for third-party development as part of a software devel... (SearchExchange.com)

  • Microsoft Windows Control Panel

    - The Microsoft Windows Control Panel is a management tool for the Windows operating system (OS) that allows end users to change settings and manage tasks within the OS.  (SearchWindowsServer.com)

Glossaries

  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About Vannevar BushPowered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.