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Eniac in ActionMaking and Remaking the Modern Computer$
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Thomas Haigh, Mark Priestley, and Crispin Rope

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262033985

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262033985.001.0001

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Imagining ENIAC

Imagining ENIAC

(p.17) 1 Imagining ENIAC
Eniac in Action

Thomas Haigh

Mark Priestley

Crispin Rope

The MIT Press

Explores the origins of ENIAC, beginning with its two primary inventors John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert. Examines ENIAC’s original 1942 and 1943 proposals, the process by which the machine was approved, and the initial assembly of a team to work on the project. Documents connections between ENIAC and earlier work on differential analyzers, including a machine constructed during the 1930s and a 1940 proposal by Irven Travis for the creation of a digital electronic version. Analysis focuses particularly the relationship between the problem for which ENIAC was commissioned, the computation of artillery trajectories, and the proposed design. It concludes with a description of early planning work to determine the basic capabilities of ENIAC’s accumulators, its standard building block.

Keywords:   Travis, Irven, Eckert, J. Presper, Mauchly, John W, Differential analyzer, Firing tables, Ballistic Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground

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