After World War II, other major industrialized nations responded to the techlogical and industrial hegemony of the United States by developing their own design and manufacturing competence in digital electronic techlogy. In this book John Vardalas describes the quest for such competence in Canada, exploring the significant contributions of the civilian sector but emphasizing the role of the Canadian military in shaping radical techlogical change. As he shows, Canada's determination to be an active participant in research and development work on advanced weapons systems, and in the testing of those weapons systems, was a cornerstone of Canadian techlogical development during the years 1945-1980. Vardalas presents case studies of such firms as Ferranti-Canada, Sperry Gyroscope of Canada, and Control Data of Canada. In contrast to the standard nationalist interpretation of Canadian subsidiaries of transnational corporations as passive agents, he shows them to have been remarkably invative and explains how their aggressive programs to develop all-Canadian digital R&D and manufacturing capacities influenced techlogical development in the United States and in Great Britain. While underlining the unprecedented role of the military in the creation of peacetime scientific and technical skills, Vardalas also examines the role of government and university research programs, including Canada's first computerized systems for mail sorting and airline reservations. Overall, he presents a nuanced account of how national ecomic, political, and corporate forces influenced the content, extent, and direction of digital invation in Canada.
John N. Vardalas is Professeur accocie at the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST) at the Universite du Quebec in Montreal
Winner of American Association for History and Computing Book Award 2002.