CfP: Early Digital Computing in Central and Eastern Europe

15 Aug 2017 - 00:00

Cluj Napoca, 28-29 November 2017

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) awarded in 1996 a long list of computer scientists from Central and Eastern Europe adding them to the pioneers’ pantheon as an acknowledgement of their work on the evolution of computer science behind the Iron Curtain. The history of the dawn of computers on this particular side of the world was shadowed by the intense interest in evolution of the field in Russia, closely scrutinized during the start of the Cold War. What happened between Eastern Germany and Russia was regarded as a footnote when addressing the history of computing. We would like to expand that footnote not only by exposing the technical mastery and engineering craftsmanship, but also adding stories from the birth of the magnificent calculating behemoths.

Transylvania Digital Humanities Centre (DigiHUBB) invites participants from Central & Eastern Europe to join us at the Babeș - Bolyai University in Cluj Napoca, Romania to share the hidden stories of the first digital workers and the primitive computers from their respective countries. We are looking for presentations from mathematicians, computer scientists and technology historians accessible to a non-technical audience.

We are honored to have Professor Willard McCarty, King’s College London, Claire Clivaz, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (Lausanne, CH) and Mircea Rusu, Institute of Atomic Physics (IFA) Bucharest as keynote speakers.

Submissions of abstracts for oral presentations no longer than 20 minutes, featuring high quality and previously unpublished research are invited on the following TOPICS:

  • Early computers and pioneers from Eastern and Central Europe
  • Computer prototypes and experimental machines
  • The evolution of computing technology and communications
  • Educational initiatives and the birth of computer science in Eastern and Central Europe countries
  • Women as digital workers
  • Timesharing and other strategies in using the computers
  • Social, political or economical impact of building computer prototypes
  • First steps in the evolution of IT industries
  • Forgotten figures and stories
  • Corpora of letters, publications and journals of the era
  • Building computers between science and craftsmanship. Trivia, anecdotes and folklore
  • Paradigm shifts and computer generations

The 28h of November DigiHUBB and Dariah will organize a Dariah workshop including:

  • a general presentation of DARIAH
  • a presentation of the projects #dariahTeach and the H2020 DESIR
  • a presentation of DIMPO and the Romanian participation to the next DIMPO survey

On the same occasion 4 speakers will have their travel and accommodation fee covered until 200 euros/person by the DARIAH ambassador network action (HAS project). They will be awarded to the presentation of projects related to digital humanities challenges in Romania and in Europe.


  • Abstract submission: 15 August 2017
  • Notification of acceptance: 5 September 2017
  • Final version of paper: 30 October 2017
  • Workshop: 28-29 November 2017

All proposals will be peer-reviewed and published in the second issue of Studia UBB Digitalia.  We welcome applications from scholars at all stages of their careers. The conference website will be updated on a regular basis.

Please send your proposal using the form available at:

This call is available at