AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

The only film so far found in the AT&T Archives being posted here that was NOT made by AT&T or any of the company's subsidiaries. However, this film was part of the Bell Labs film library, a resource utilized by Labs engineers. This film was made by the U.S. Navy in order to explain the absolute simplest elements of computers and how they worked.

Digital Computer Techniques was a film series introduction to the essentials of computers and computing. The series was made by Audio Productions, Inc., a company that made a lot of films for the Bell System as well. Here's what the entire series consisted of at the time:

  • Digital Computer Techniques: Introduction (the film posted here) This gives a history of what kind of counting devices led to the creation of a computer; from fingers to stones to slide rules. In this film, the word "computer" seems to still be about number crunching.
  • Digital Computer Techniques: Computer Logic Part I The binary number system, logic as it is applied to computers, what "code" is.
  • Digital Computer Techniques: Computer Logic Part II, Symbology (also called "Logic Element Circuits") Explains transistors, AND, OR, NOR, INVERTER and FLIP-FLOP gates. Shows how circuits affect binary signals to produce output.
  • Digital Computer Techniques: Computer Units Explains the 5 parts of a computer—i.e. input, storage, control, output, and arithmetic, as well as what sequencing, clocking and timing have to do with the processing.
  • Digital Computer Techniques: Programming Explains programming via the use of flow charts and symbols, and what computer language is.

Note: As this film was made by the U.S. Navy, and at the time one of the Navy's star computer experts was then-Commander Grace Hopper, one hopes for a cameo... sadly, she's not here, in the introduction film, at least.

Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 08/22/2012