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Uploaded on Sep 30, 2014
Recorded: March 7, 1985
Jan Rajchman joined RCA Laboratories in 1936 where he was assigned to work on electron multipliers, and he soon became an early pioneer in electronic computation. He invented what is considered the first read-only memory, and during World War II, he and his team shared many of their innovations with the creators of the ENIAC. Rajchman discusses the Selectron, a vacuum tube computer memory he conceived of at RCA and began developing in 1946. With technology similar to Williams tube memory, the Selectron tube was used in computers such as the Johnniac. Shortly after, Rajchman made contributions to the development of magnetic core memory, an idea he concurrently but independently conceived along with innovators An Wang, Way-Dong Woo, and Jay Forrester. He details how the introduction of the transistor reshaped how memory was made, and Rajchman concludes with speculations on the future of computer memory and a question-and-answer session with the audience.