The Man Who Invented the Computer

The Man Who Invented the Computer

The Biography of John Atanasoff, Digital Pioneer

Book - 2010
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One night in the late 1930s, in a bar on the Illinois-Iowa border, John Vincent Atanasoff, a professor of physics at Iowa State University, after a frustrating day performing tedious mathematical calculations in his lab, hit on the idea that the binary number system and electronic switches, combined with an array of capacitors on a moving drum to serve as memory, could yield a computing machine that would make his life easier. Then he went back and built the machine. It worked, but he never patented the device, and the developers of the far-better-known ENIAC almost certainly stole critical ideas from him. But in 1973 a court declared that the patent on that Sperry Rand device was invalid, opening the gates to the computer revolution. Biographer Jane Smiley makes the race to develop digital computing as gripping as a real-life techno-thriller.--From publisher description
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2010]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780385527132
0385527136
Branch Call Number: BIO Atanasoff, J 2010
Characteristics: 246 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm

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SunKing2
Mar 22, 2011

The author shows us develpments of the computer through early efforts during WWII as both experiments and as code-breakers. But during these, it appears Atanasoff has been creating a machine to solve differential equations, and has succeeded. Only towards the end do we realize that other's accomplishments (von Neumann, Turing, and "the first computer") have really had their origins in Atanasoff's ABC machine.

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