Now that we've spent this week looking at all the incredible ways data is gathered, computed, analyzed and used, we thought we'd take a look through the archives to see how we got to this data age to begin with.
The earliest goliath computers were built by the Army and the Navy, not for civilian use. Flash forward to the late 60s, when civilians could rent computers to use for their own complex calculations (read: taxes). The next step was getting computers to understand queries posed in simple English, rather than just relying on complex computing languages, making them easier for laypeople to use. We sped up the data crunching by giving computers logical reasoning, faster search skills and multiple processors, and before long, they were helping design aircraft and visualizing energy emissions from black holes (seen above). And now, we've gotten so good at storing and finding data that we have to be careful, because wherever we go, we leave traces of ourselves.
Learn about all this and more through PopSci's coverage over the years in this week's archive gallery.