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Eniac program

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Programming ENIAC 1943...1945..1955
Plug boards and jumper cables..

a first use was by John VonNeumann for  atomic  and thermonuclear bomb  physics Simulation

From an optimist in the nuclear age



Great Post! (And it is nice to see a posting in Vintage Computers that is about a machine that predates the PC.)

A nit, I think:

I suspect von Neuman did not develop the first application. There is strong evidence that he was introduced to Eckert and Mauchly in the fall of 1944, a year before the first "real" code ran on the machine. But, according to Scott McCartney's book "ENIAC" (page 103) the first modeling code was written by Nicholas Metropolis and Stanley Frankel late in 1945.  McCartney's account looks credible,  especially in light of the personalities involved. By the fall of 1945, von Neumann was likely too involved with the discussions around the EDVAC follow-on to spend much time on coding up an application for ENIAC.

Goldstine's account "The Computer, from Pascal to von Neumann" in chapter 10 supports McCartney's account. Goldstine was there at the time, and in fact likely managed the relationship between the U Penn team and Metropolis. The book is -- for the most part -- a tribute to von Neumann, attributing much to von Neumann in a frequently worshipful tone. (I found the book very unpleasant reading.) This all suggests that Goldstine's account is reliable, as he would have credited von Neumann profusely if JvN had any part in the problem preparation.

In cross-checking I find that McCartney's account and Goldstine's account were independent. Goldstine relied on his personal correspondence from the time, while McCartney interviewed participants and drew on a recorded interview of Metropolis that was done in 1987. McCartney's book is quite well researched, and a good read.


Hi Matt: Museums...

CHM:USA Sil Valley
TNMOC near BP in UK:

Mechanical computers of Charles Babbage, circa 1880s....,the%20method%20of%20finite%20differences.

Babbage Analytical Engine (design but never built, had CPU, storage, bus ...a complet computer programmable in gears and cams!)


Jean-Paul (EE 1968, the Internet Dinosaur)

Sherlock Holmes:
My first real programmer job was at a computer center that was owned by a consortium of London burroughs, they all chipped in and shared the costs of a big IBM mainframe installation, manned 24/7. Anyway, some of the older guys there (I was 25) spoke fondly of the initial setup of the consortium, that was not based on IBM but on LEO. They even showed me old printouts of "LEO Code", I wish to God I had kept some of that stuff, true history.

LEO 1 was the world's first commercial business computer system, made and sold by - wait for it - a cake/tea house chain!

Before my time, must have seemed like science fiction back then.

There's a great two-part video from the mid-1990s here:

00:00 - Opening and Copyright
01:16 - Introduction with Gordon Bell
02:16 - Overview of computing in the 1930's
04:10 - George Stibitz and the BTL Mark 1
10:15 - The beginning of World War II
11:30 - Konrad Zuse and the Z3 (including an appearance by Zuse himself, which I'd never seen)
20:51 - John V Atanasoff and the ABC
29:10 - Howard Aiken, Grace Hopper, and the IBM Harvard Mark I
42:07 - Herb Grosch and the SSEC
50:35 - Closing with Gordon Bell

00:00 - Opening and Copyright
01:22 - Introduction with Gordon Bell
02:16 - Eckert, Mauchly, and ENIAC
13:59 - Moving on From ENIAC and the creation of EDVAC
25:39 - Maurice Wilkes and EDSAC
31:43 - Lyons Corporation, LEO, and the beginning of commercial computing
37:51 - Parallel computing, the IAS machine, and its offspring
50:35 - UNIVAC and the birth of popular computing
53:02 - Closing with Gordon Bell

Plenty of ENIAC content, but the section on the bakery's LEO installation blew my mind.  That thing was expensive -- how could it possibly have been justified as a business expense?  Especially at that point in time, when the effects of WWII were still being felt? 


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