View Full Version : Eniac

October 9th, 2014, 01:52 AM
"...With the advent of everyday use of elaborate calculations, speed has become paramount to such a high degree that there is no machine on the market today capable of satisfying the full demand of modern computational methods." - from the ENIAC patent (U.S.#3,120,606) filed on June 26, 1947.


In 1946, John Mauchly and John Presper Eckert developed the ENIAC I (Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator). The American military sponsored their research; the army needed a computer for calculating artillery-firing tables, the settings used for different weapons under varied conditions for target accuracy.The Ballistics Research Laboratory, or BRL, the branch of the military responsible for calculating the tables, heard about John Mauchly's research at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering. John Mauchly had previously created several calculating machines, some with small electric motors inside. He had begun designing (1942) a better calculating machine based on the work of John Atanasoff that would use vacuum tubes to speed up calculations.

Partnership of John Mauchly & John Presper Eckert

On May 31, 1943, the military commission on the new computer began; John Mauchly was the chief consultant and John Presper Eckert was the chief engineer. Eckert was a graduate student studying at the Moore School when he met John Mauchly in 1943. It took the team about one year to design the ENIAC and 18 months and 500,000 tax dollars to build it. By that time, the war was over. The ENIAC was still put to work by the military doing calculations for the design of a hydrogen bomb, weather prediction, cosmic-ray studies, thermal ignition, random-number studies and wind-tunnel design.

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