"The object of my invention is to generally facilitate the compilation and increase the scope of . . . statistics."
Herman Hollerith (1860–1929)
School of Mines 1879, PhD 1890
Hollerith has been called the world's first statistical engineer and the father of modern information processing. He invented punched cards to record data and a tabulating machine and sorter to process the results electronically. Inspiration for the cards came as Hollerith observed a tram conductor punch holes in passenger tickets. He based his tabulating machine on the Jacquard loom, which controlled woven patterns through holes made in a series of cards. The resulting punch card technology was used in computers until the late 1970s.