IT ITALY

In 1840 what we might call the first IT conference was held in Turin. The British mathematician Charles Babbage presented his “analytical machine”, the first programmable computer. The project wwas described by Luigi Menabrea, an engineer and officer of the Piedmontese army, at the basis of the work of Ada Lovelace, mathematicians and IT pioneer as well as being the daughter of the famous Romantic poet Lord Byron. A hundred years later computers are a fact of life, and the first Italian computer was set up in Pisa driven by Enrico Fermi, fruit of cooperation between public research and Olivetti. Unfortunately the untimely death of Adriano Olivetti and Mario Tchou led to a halt in the work. However, in 1964 Olivetti made the first personal computer in the world, Programma 101. Fifty years have gone back and AI is now becoming part of our lives. At GiovedìScienza we retrace the glorious albeit little known history of  Italian IT.

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Filippo Demonte

Olivetti Designer

Filippo Demonte

Demonte graduated in Electrical Engineering at the Polytechnic of Turin, and joined Olivetti in 1962: he worked on a project of automatic recognition of numeric characters that led to the development of the OCR-B European standard, still in use. He took part in the design of over 50 Olivetti products, including the ET 101, the world's first electronic typewriter; he was in charge of departments and industrial groups for office and PC products. He then went on to manage a number of telephone companies. Currently he is a marketing and technology consultant, a translator and researches the history of mathematics.

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Gastone Garziera

Olivetti Designer

Gastone Garziera

At 19, he was hired by Olivetti as an electronic engineer and  joined Pier Giorgio Perotto's group, working on the development of Programma 101, the first personal computer in history. He then worked on the PCs that followed Programma, such as P203, and other projects in Olivetti’s R&D. In October 2019 he was awarded an honorary degree in Computer Science by the University of Bari.

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Angelo Raffaele Meo

Turin Polytechnic

Angelo Raffaele Meo

Meo was awarded the first chair in IT and Computer Science, and from 1979 to 1985 he directed the Progetto Finalizzato Informatica, one of the most important national research projects in our country.  From 1991 to 1996 he was the Director of the Centro Supercalcolo Piemonte. Formerly President of the Academy of Sciences of Turin, he has authored over four hundred scientific publications. He has been awarded the "Lori" and "Bonavera" prizes in Electrotechnics, the international "Research and Innovation" prize  by Italgas, and the "Galileo" prize for mathematical popularisation.