In the spirit of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Computing: The Human Experience is a multi-part transmedia documentary that takes us on a journey across the intersection of computing and what it means to be human, wherein we explore the nature of computational thinking; present the central stories of the science, the people, and the artifacts of computing; examine the connections among computing, the individual, and society; and contemplate the future.

The story of computing is the story of humanity. This is a story of ambition, invention, creativity, vision, avarice, and serendipity, all powered by a refusal to accept the limits of our bodies and our minds.

Computing is an exploration of what it means to be human in the face of a technology that can amplify us, diminish us, and perhaps even replace us.

Computing is designed to serve three primary audiences: the intellectually curious general public who is attracted to an exploration of computing’s past, present, and future; Generation X to Gen Alpha, inspiring them to better understand the technology that shapes their future; and insiders to the world of computing, in celebration of the millions of men and women who have contributed to the rise of computing. An informed and educated populace is far more able to reconcile its past, reason about its present, and intentionally create its future. Computing serves to educate, challenge, and inspire.

Computing is a global story and so is intended to reach a global audience. While much of modern computing arises within the US and the UK, there are many compelling stories from around the world: from China, the curious connection between the I Ching and binary code and now its rise as a major player in artificial intelligence; the economic, social, and religious forces that have fueled the rise of robots in Japan; the clear and present reality of cyberwar with Russia. Computing speaks not just to the US and the UK, but to all of civilization.

As a transmedia project, Computing is delivered in the form of a book, 12 one-hour episodes, several short-form videos, an app, and this web site.

Executive Team

Grady Booch is Chief Scientist for Software Engineering at IBM where he leads IBM’s research and development for embodied cognition. Having originated the term and the practice of object-oriented design, he is best known for his work in advancing the fields of software engineering and software architecture. A co-author of the Unified Modeling Language, a founding member of the Agile Alliance, and a founding member of the Hillside Group, Grady has published six books and several hundred technical articles, including an ongoing column for IEEE Software. Grady is also a trustee for the Computer History Museum. He is an IBM Fellow, an ACM Fellow and an IEEE Fellow, has been awarded the Lovelace Medal and has given the Turing Lecture for the BCS, and was recently named an IEEE Computer Pioneer.

Jan Booch is a psychologist, social worker, theologian, and artist. As a social worker, she attends to issues of multiculturalism, inclusivism, and the impact computing has had on society. As a psychotherapist, her focus is on how human desires and needs have shaped and continue to shape the development of computing technology. As a theologian, her focus is on the moral and ethical issues found in the story of computing. As a non-technical person, she helps make the stories of Computing approachable, understandable, and interesting to the general public.


In the early stages of our project, we assembled a set of advisors to help us shape our stories. In our current stage of development, this group is no longer active, but we want to thank them for their help in launching Computing.

Tilly Blyth
Martin Campbell-Kelly
Jack Copeland
Vint Cerf
Ed Feigenbaum
Mary Hall
David Harel
Alan Kay
Dean Kamen
William Lord
Tim O’Reilly
Tony Sale
Mary Shaw
Dag Spicer
David Trickett

We also give special thanks to John Hollar, former President and CEO for the Computer History Museum.The idea for Computing began in 2008 in a conversation with John. John had just landed a significant amount of funding for the Museum and - knowing of his previous work at PBS - I remarked "when you are going to do a series like Sagan's Cosmos?" He replied "why don't you be our Sagan?" I assured him that I was no Carl, but that I'd take on the idea, and thus Computing was born.


Computing's publisher is O'Reilly Media; our editor is Mary Tressler.

Production Team

In late 2012, having captured the interest of KQED, Silicon Valley's public broadcasting station, we embarked on a project to develop a pitch. Working in collaboration with KiKim Media, we produced a teaser which we then presented to the programming executives of PBS in Washington DC. Their reaction was quite positive, telling us that this was very much the kind of series to which they aspired. Since then, we've been on the search for a production team to develop the 12 one-hour episodes and short-form videos that comprise the visual deliverables of Computing; we are currently in discussion with several potential teams. Given the changing nature of contemporary broadcasting, we're also exploring distribution via any of a number of streaming services.


In the early stages of our project, we assembled a small team of volunteers to help us shape our stories, start our social media presence, and launch a Kickstarter project. Thank you!

Jim Bentz
Seth Friedman
Austin Heap
Adam Murray
Shannon Murray
Donna Thomas
Tom Thomas
Carol Viana

We give thanks also to the volunteers who helped us curate the thousands of web and print articles that informed our storytelling.

Fabrizio Francione
Gonzalo Contento
Stan Zajdel
Myra Snyder
George Walther
Gopal Tadepalli
Ivan Portilla
Mariled Arango
Aniruddha Nandi
Eran Khoo
Ian Wesley
Jitendranath Palem
Celso Gonzalez
Leonardo Postacchini
Neal Schlatter
Santiago French
Sanjiv Sahai
Chris Li
James Rhee
Kathi Daugherty
Kevin Grazioplene
Jackie Duffey
Laura Contento
Roberto Martinez
Andra Sonea
Data Curator
Ece Ozen
Jan Booch
Sada Haider
Prasad Prabhakaran
Joyce Avila

In 2011, we conducted a Kickstarter project that raised over $30,000. Thanks to the kind contributions of 348 backers from around the world, we used those funds to launch our lecture series and to advance our research.

Sandy Adam
Abhi Mangal Agarwal
Eman Al Obeidi
Mark Alder
Imran Ali
ALM Solutions Group
Scott W. Ambler
Alok Anadkat
Ananthalakshmi Anbuselvan
Jeff Aronson
Yvonne Aviles
John B
Ramesh Babu
Michael Bachman
Kelly Bailey
Fred Ballard
Jerry Banfield
Eric, Kate & Bill Baran
Matt & Sara Baran
Tim Baran
Alex & Peg Baran
Granville Barker
Kent K Barnes
Lisa Barnes
Ephraim Baron
Marget Baron
Christophe Begue
Greg Bek
Jim Bentz
Steve Berczuk
Dave Bernstein
Cristian Bidea
Bob Binder
Kurt Bittner
Amanda Blackburn
Paul Bonamy
Susan Amirian Bonser
Helen Booch Lindsay
Scott Bosworth
Bob Bretall
Paul Brody
Joshua W. Burton
Lamar Caldwell
David Camm
Brett Camper
Marco Cantu
Buddy Carman
Karla Carter
Rui Carvahlo
Juan Miguel Cejuela
Kevin Channell
Julie Chickering
George Chiesa
Magnus Christerson
Pang Teck Chun
Vincent Cina
Pamala Clift
Jim Cluchey
Mark Cogan
Stephen Cohen
Mike Cohn
Robert Conklin
Dennis & Sallie Conover
Jonathan Coon
Peter Cripps
Adrienne Custode
Rob Daly
Jeffrey Davis
Barbara De Briganti
Hans de Wolf
Colin Dean
Roy Decker
Frank DeMarco
Jerry M Denman
Jim Densmore
Michael Devlin
Michelle Dickey
Jeff Dinkins
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Bruce Douglass
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Matthew Eagar
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Maria Ericsson
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Manny Farber
Mike Farland
Scott Farnum
Robert Fayle
Rafael Fernandez
Rick Fishbune
John Fitzgerald
Bob Florian
Bob Foery
Ken France
Seth Friedman
Scott Frohman
Claes Gahlin
Marko Gargenta
Todd Gehman
Kevin Gilhooly
Jim Gillespie
Steve Glaser
Judd Gledhill
Burton M. Goldfield
Tatiana Gondim-Bough
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