Current and Recent Research Projects

The Charles Babbage Institute conducts major research projects in the history and social study of computing, information, and archival theory. CBI holds major symposiums and other events and advises and assists to advance the research of scholars worldwide. Many of our research projects are conducted as part of sponsored research from public and private foundations and organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), DARPA, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Historic Records and Publications Commission, and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). 

CBI historians, archivists, and our fellows regularly publish impactful books, articles, and strongly help advance research and publications of others through editorial leadership. CBI’s historians and our senior research fellows also publish edited career-spanning, research-grade oral histories, and we have one of the premier and most esteemed oral history programs in the history of science and technology worldwide.

To learn more about all of CBI's projects, check out the Research Projects section on this page.

CBI Director's Research

CBI Director Jeffrey R. Yost has published six books (most recently, Making IT Work: A History of the Computer Services Industry) and many dozens of articles/chapters. He is a co-author in the leading textbook in his field, Computer: A History of the Information Machine, Third Edition. Yost has led/co-led more than $2.1M in sponsored research for the NSF, DOE, and the Sloan Foundation.

His current research includes authoring a book on the history of computer security for MIT Press and co-editing a book, Just Code with Gerardo Con Diaz, for Johns Hopkins University Press—revised papers from CBI’s impactful symposium with 345 attendees. Yost also currently serves as co-editor with Gerard Alberts of Springer's History of Computing series, is co-editor with Amanda Wick of the journal Interfaces, has conducted 275 oral histories, and currently is leading an oral history effort for ACM on HCI.

CBI Archivist's Research

CBI Curator of Manuscripts and Archivist Amanda Wick has published three recent articles in one of the leading archives scholarly journals, Journal of Archival Organization, including “We’re All Vegans Here: The Twenty-First Century Archival Ecosystem.” (Jan. - Jun. 2017).  Other articles focus on theory and practice with the ArchivesSpace.

CBI Affiliate Historian's Research

CBI Affiliate Historian Honghong Tinn will soon be publishing her book Island Tinkerers, with MIT Press. It examines the technical, business, and cultural history of computing in Taiwan. She recently published “Modeling Computer and Computer Models…” in our field’s top journal, Technology and Culture (Oct. 2018). 


CBI Senior Research Fellows

CBI’s Senior Research Fellows are global leading historians, social informatics, and communication scholars of computing, software, and networking. Collectively they have published more than 60 IT history books and hundreds of peer reviewed articles.

Recent path-breaking books by these scholars include William Aspray and James W. Cortada, From Urban Legends to Political Fact Checking: Online Scrutiny in America , 1990-2015 (Springer 2019); Danielle Allen and Jennifer Light, eds. From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (University of Chicago, 2015); William Aspray, Women and Underrepresented Minorities in Computing (Springer, 2016); James W. Cortada, IBM: The Rise, Fall, and Reinvention of a Global Icon (MIT Press, 2019); and Robert S. Emmett and David Nye, eds. The Environmental Humanities: A Critical Introduction (MIT Press, 2017).


Tomash Fellows Research Projects 

Our standout Tomash Fellows of yesterday are many of the thought leaders in IT history/studies today. Recent fellows are completing or have defended dissertations on the social history of artificial intelligence and machine learning (Aaron Plasek, ABD, History, Columbia University); business, culture, and politics in Brazilian computing (University of Colorado Communication Assistant Professor Colette Perold) algorithmic thinking, data analytics, and the environment (NYU AI Now Institute’s Dr. Theodora Dryer). For more information and a list of the four decades of recipients, see the Tomash Fellowship page. 

Research Projects