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History of Computing in Malta

The history of computing in Malta has yet to be properly studied and documented. Although a number of articles and papers on various aspects of computing and I T have appeared over the years, the literature is patchy and the overall picture far from complete. This research hopes to build an unbiased, historical accoun t of how computing in Malta has evolved over a c. 40 year period beginning from the early data processing years up to the present.

Although Malta has made great strides in the Informatics area in the last few ye ars and is emerging as a European, if not a world, champion in the management of information-based technologies and services, it was slow in devising and adopti ng a plan for an informatics-based infrastructure. Up to quite recently, Malta was considered a developing country with most of its revenues deriving principal ly from low-cost, export oriented, traditional manufacturing industry and touris m. In spite of the PC and Information revolution which have also left their mar k on this small Island, Malta's IT policy (including data protection laws, telec ommunications liberalisation, etc.) was practically non-existent, and it was onl y more recently--in fact in the last decade--that a serious effort was made in t his direction. Testimony to this, for example, is the fact that no mention of c omputer technology is made in the Fifth Development Plan 1981-1985; but in 1993, a National Strategy for Information Technology was instigated which is now bear ing fruit.

As a small, 'semi-developed', Island State lacking natural resources and a forme r colony, Malta has a lot in common with other, similarly developing countries e ven in the field of computing. It should therefore be possible to do a comparat ive study of the evolution of computing and ICT in Malta, with reference to the economic framework, as the story of how the Island progressed from a post-indust rial to a post-modern, high-tech services-oriented state begins to unfold.

Investigator: Mario Aloisio (PhD thesis)