ENIAC


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ENIAC

[′ē·nē·ak]
(computer science)
The first digital computer in the modern sense of the word, built 1942-1945. Derived from Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator.

ENIAC

ENIAC

(Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) The first operational electronic digital computer developed for the U.S. Army by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Started in 1943, it took 200,000 man-hours and nearly a half million dollars to complete two years later.

Programmed by plugging in cords and setting thousands of switches, the decimal-based machine used 18,000 vacuum tubes, weighed 30 tons and took up 1,800 square feet. It cost a fortune in electricity to run; however, at 5,000 additions per second, it was faster than anything else. Initially targeted for trajectory calculations, by the time it was ready to go, World War II had ended. Soon after, it was moved to the army's Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland where it was put to good work computing thermonuclear reactions in hydrogen bombs and numerous other problems until it was dismantled in 1955.

An Amazing Machine in 1946
Referring to ENIAC's public introduction in early 1946, The New York Times said "One of the war's top secrets, an amazing machine which applies electronic speeds for the first time to mathematical tasks hitherto too difficult and cumbersome for solution, was announced here tonight." Today, all 1,800 square feet of that machinery fits on the head of a pin.

ENIAC proved that the thinking behind electronic computing was sound, and smaller and faster machines were forecast at the dedication ceremony. However, it is doubtful they would have conceived that the entire CPU would be no bigger than a pencil eraser some day. See EDVAC and early computers.


The First Operational Digital Computer
Looking a little like a dungeon in an old science fiction movie, this must have been an awesome sight in 1946. The electrical power used could supply thousands of computers today. (Image courtesy of The Computer History Museum, www.computerhistory.org)







Would They Have Believed It?
Anyone watching an ENIAC demonstration could never have envisioned computers would become so small, you could lose one in your shirt pocket. Not only that, these PICmicro microcontrollers from Microchip (www.microchip.com), are a whole lot faster than the ENIAC.
References in periodicals archive ?
3) Philip Elmer-DeWitt, "A Birthday Party for ENIAC," Time, 24 February 1986, 63.
ENIAC, the first electronic computer, had roughly the same power as a digital watch or a four-function calculator in 2000.
Cool PC science: Today's computers are thousands of times faster than ENIAC and weigh just a few pounds.
This whole ceremony was simulcast to several sites on campus, since space in the room housing ENIAC was limited.
Though it was a wonder of its time, ENIAC was retired some nine years after it had been set up.
The project will complement the engagement of the European semiconductor equipment industry in the 450mm wafer size transition that started with the ENIAC JU EEMI450 initiative and proceeded with subsequent projects funded with public money, amongst others NGC450, SOI450, EEM450PR and E450EDL which will result into first critical process module availability in the imec pilot line.
The venture round was led by Metamorphic Ventures with participation from ENIAC Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Pantera Capital, Rimrock Venture Partners, VegasTechFund, and others.
The University of Pennsylvania rolls out the first all-electronic general-purpose digital computer (left), called ENIAC (2/23/46, p.
Brodsky's doctorate in engineering (he performed calculations for his dissertation on ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic computer
Funding has come from the European Union, ENIAC (the European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council), and by public research funding organisations in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.
Doing calculations the long, old fashioned way, Ulam and one assistant turned in their answers before the instructions to ENIAC had been completed.
The completed first phase of The ENIAC Programmers project involved in-depth interviews with the original programmers of the ENIAC.