Atanasoff, John V.

Atanasoff, John V. (Vincent)

(1903–  ) physicist, computer engineer; born in Hamilton, N.Y. He took his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Wisconsin (1930). By 1938, he had developed several concepts that would underlie early computers—that they should be electronic, binary based, and use condensers for memory. Working with Clifford Berry at Iowa State University (1939–42), he built what is regarded as the first electronic digital calculating machine; known as the ABC (Atanasoff-Berry-Computer), it would influence the design of subsequent computers. He built computers for the navy and army (1942–52) and then went into private business.