VCF East keynotes: Enigma, Stroustrup (C++), 40 yrs of appliance computers

Evan Koblentz cctalk at
Mon Dec 19 10:39:36 CST 2016

C++ inventor Bjarne Stroustrup, Ph.D., Enigma machine expert Tom Perera, 
Ph.D., and a panel discussion by computer historian Bill Degnan on the 
40th anniversary of appliance computers featuring the Apple II, 
Commodore PET 2001, and TRS-80 Model 1 will be the keynote sessions for 
Vintage Computer Festival East XII, March 31-April 2, in Wall, New Jersey.

The event is produced by Vintage Computer Federation (, a 
national user group devoted to enabling hobbyists and spreading 
awareness of computer history. The Federation is a 501(c)3 non-profit.

Stroustrup (, who developed the C++ programming 
language at Bell Labs starting in 1978, will discuss "The Origins and 
further Evolution of C++" on Saturday morning, April 1. He is currently 
a visiting professor of computer science at Columbia University and a 
managing director in the technology division at Morgan Stanley. His talk 
is sure to be an excellent follow-up to C language author and pioneer 
Brian Kernighan, who spoke at VCF East X in 2015.

Perera's company,, is in the business of hunting for, 
researching, restoring,	 and selling Enigma machines and related items. 
His talk, "Inside the Enigma: The history, technology and deciphering of 
an early laptop computer and the real story of the Imitation Game" will 
be presented Friday, March 31 after lunch. The World War II German 
Enigma was arguably an original form of laptop computer. This talk will 
explain the history and technology of the Enigma and link it to the 
movie "Imitation Game" which tells the story of the cracking of the 
German Navy Enigma code and the extraordinary contributions of 
mathematician Alan Turing to this endeavor. In order to keep the 
audience interested and involved, the movie has allowed some 
inaccuracies and omissions in the history and technology and in the 
masterful portrayal of the eccentric mathematician Alan Turing by 
Benedict Cumberbatch. This talk will trace the actual story of the 
Enigma and the cracking of the Enigma Code and attempt to fill in some 
of the Enigmatic aspects of Alan Turing's personality. Perera will also 
give a more technical demonstration of how the machines work and a 
real-time disassembly of an Enigma in a separate session that day. He 
will give further demonstrations and will offer for sale his Enigmas, 
Enigma simulators, other historic cipher machines, books, Enigma Library 
CD-ROM, and related items on Saturday and Sunday. Perera was formerly a 
professor of neuroscience at Columbia University, Barnard College, and 
Montclair State University.

Degnan ( is a co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic 
chapter of Vintage Computer Federation, a professional programmer and 
web developer, and formerly taught computer history at the University of 
Delaware. At his panel, "1977: The year of the appliance computer" 
you'll learn about the launch of the Apple II, Commodore PET 2001, and 
Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1. Bill will guide the discussion to explore 
how the appliance computer facilitated the expansion of computers as an 
appliance into small businesses, schools, and the home. Panelists will 
be separated into three groups each representing the Apple, Commodore, 
and Tandy/Radio Shack perspective. The panel will respond to questions 
and share their knowledge and personal experiences. The discussion will 
continue from 1977 through the milestones of 1980s 8-bit appliance and 
home computing.

All three sessions will be 90 minutes which includes audience Q&A. 
Further details will be shared as the event nears.

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