"[I]t replaced manpower with technology on a scale reminiscent of pulp science fiction. It was the first computer network." #readingToday
At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), researchers concluded that the Whirlwind computer, originally built for the Navy as a flight simulator, could be used to automate air defense and early-warning tasks. Unlike computers that took days or weeks to perform calculations, the Whirlwind had been designed to operate in real time. After extensive testing by the Air Force, an updated version of the Whirlwind was chosen to serve as the heart of the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE)— a centralized command-and-control system that linked early-warning radars directly to antiaircraft missiles and fighter-interceptors, that not only processed information in real time but also transmitted it, that replaced manpower with technology on a scale reminiscent of pulp science fiction. It was the first computer network.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Incident, and the Illusion of Safety by Eric Schlosser