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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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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 01 August 2021

Bringing ENIAC to Life

Bringing ENIAC to Life

Chapter:
(p.59) 3 Bringing ENIAC to Life
Source:
Eniac in Action
Author(s):

Thomas Haigh

Mark Priestley

Crispin Rope

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262033985.003.0004

This chapter explores the construction and initial use of ENIAC during 1944 and 1945. It highlights the challenges of procuring components in the wartime environment, from wire and steel to custom-built power supplies and high precision resistors. ENIAC was built by a forgotten, almost exclusively female, team of “wiremen.” The project was repeatedly delayed, requiring contract renegotiations. The chapter then introduces machine’s initial cohort of six female operators, putting their work into the broader context of labor in applied mathematics. In concludes with a description of some of the challenges, including a flood, faced by the team as it worked to debug ENIAC as it struggled to run a calculation for Los Alamos intended to determine the viability of Edward Teller’s design for a “Super” fusion weapon.

Keywords:   Los Alamos, Teller, Edward, Bartik, Jean, Goldstine, Herman Heine, University of Pennsylvania

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