Taiwan Forum talks on Nov. 14 2019-“Epistemic Machines for the Cold War: Computing Economic Planning Projects in Cold War Taiwan, 1959-1968.”

▲Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, 4:30-5:30 pm:

▲Prof. Honghong TINN (Program in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Minnesota): “Epistemic Machines for the Cold War: Computing Economic Planning Projects in Cold War Taiwan, 1959-1968.”

▲JSC Room 201, 147 Bay State Road (enter on Silber Way), Boston University. (Taiwan Forum Lecture Series) (reception to follow)

This history of technology talk traces the process in which Taiwanese economic bureaucrats, a Cornell economics professor, and pioneering computer users worked together to visualize, represent, and make sense of economic activities in Taiwan through inter-industry input-output tables by using one of the first two available electronic digital computers in Taiwan. It was an IBM 1620 mainframe, installed at a Taiwanese university in 1964 through a United Nations technical-aid program.

This talk unpacks the participation of Taiwanese historical actors at the frontlines of Cold War economic
competition between Taiwan and China, and reveals how U.S. and UN aid provided the necessary
technological resources for relevant econometric calculations. In sum, this talk elaborates on the critical
role of computing technology during the Cold War, especially in an East Asian geopolitical context.