Computers eniac computers



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Computers



ENIAC




Computers  In February, the public got its first glimpse of the ENIAC, a machine built by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert that improved by 1,000 times on the speed of its contemporaries.

Start of project:

1943

Completed:

1946

Programmed:

plug board and switches

Speed:

5,000 operations per second

Input/output:

cards, lights, switches, plugs

Floor space:

1,000 square feet

Project leaders:

John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert.




1946

 







AVIDAC




Computers  An inspiring summer school on computing at the University of Pennsylvania´s Moore School of Electrical Engineering stimulated construction of stored-program computers at universities and research institutions. This free, public set of lectures inspired the EDSAC, BINAC, and, later, IAS machine clones like the AVIDAC. Here, Warren Kelleher completes the wiring of the arithmetic unit components of the AVIDAC at Argonne National Laboratory. Robert Dennis installs the inter-unit wiring as James Woody Jr. adjusts the deflection control circuits of the memory unit.

1946

 







IBM´s SSEC




Computers  IBM´s Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator computed scientific data in public display near the company´s Manhattan headquarters. Before its decommissioning in 1952, the SSEC produced the moon-position tables used for plotting the course of the 1969 Apollo flight to the moon.

Speed:

50 multiplications per second

Input/output:

cards, punched tape

Memory type:

punched tape, vacuum tubes, relays

Technology:

20,000 relays, 12,500 vacuum tubes

Floor space:

25 feet by 40 feet

Project leader:

Wallace Eckert




1948

 







Wilkes with the EDSAC




Computers  Maurice Wilkes assembled the EDSAC, the first practical stored-program computer, at Cambridge University. His ideas grew out of the Moore School lectures he had attended three years earlier.

For programming the EDSAC, Wilkes established a library of short programs called subroutines stored on punched paper tapes.



Technology:

vacuum tubes

Memory:

1K words, 17 bits, mercury delay line

Speed:

714 operations per second




1949

 







Manchester Mark I




Computers  The Manchester Mark I computer functioned as a complete system using the Williams tube for memory. This University machine became the prototype for Ferranti Corp.´s first computer.

Start of project:

1947

Completed:

1949

Add time:

1.8 microseconds

Input/output:

paper tape, teleprinter, switches

Memory size:

128 + 1024 40-digit words

Memory type:

cathode ray tube, magnetic drum

Technology:

1,300 vacuum tubes

Floor space:

medium room

Project leaders:

Frederick Williams and Tom Kilburn




1949

 







ERA 1101 drum memory




Computers  Engineering Research Associates of Minneapolis built the ERA 1101, the first commercially produced computer; the company´s first customer was the U.S. Navy. It held 1 million bits on its magnetic drum, the earliest magnetic storage devices. Drums registered information as magnetic pulses in tracks around a metal cylinder. Read/write heads both recorded and recovered the data. Drums eventually stored as many as 4,000 words and retrieved any one of them in as little as five-thousandths of a second.

1950

 







SEAC




Computers  The National Bureau of Standards constructed the SEAC (Standards Eastern Automatic Computer) in Washington as a laboratory for testing components and systems for setting computer standards. The SEAC was the first computer to use all-diode logic, a technology more reliable than vacuum tubes, and the first stored-program computer completed in the United States. Magnetic tape in the external storage units (shown on the right of this photo) stored programming information, coded subroutines, numerical data, and output.

1950

 







SWAC




Computers  The National Bureau of Standards completed its SWAC (Standards Western Automatic Computer) at the Institute for Numerical Analysis in Los Angeles. Rather than testing components like its companion, the SEAC, the SWAC had an objective of computing using already-developed technology.

1950

 







Pilot ACE




Computers  Alan Turing´s philosophy directed design of Britain´s Pilot ACE at the National Physical Laboratory. "We are trying to build a machine to do all kinds of different things simply by programming rather than by the addition of extra apparatus," Turing said at a symposium on large-scale digital calculating machinery in 1947 in Cambridge, Mass.

Start of project:

1948

Completed:

1950

Add time:

1.8 microseconds

Input/output:

cards

Memory size:

352 32-digit words

Memory type:

delay lines

Technology:

800 vacuum tubes

Floor space:

12 square feet

Project leader:

J. H. Wilkinson




1950

 







MIT Whirlwind




Computers  MIT´s Whirlwind debuted on Edward R. Murrow´s "See It Now" television series. Project director Jay Forrester described the computer as a "reliable operating system," running 35 hours a week at 90-percent utility using an electrostatic tube memory.

Start of project:

1945

Completed:

1951

Add time:

.05 microseconds

Input/output:

cathode ray tube, paper tape, magnetic tape

Memory size:

2048 16-digit words

Memory type:

cathode ray tube, magnetic drum, tape (1953 - core memory)

Technology:

4,500 vacuum tubes, 14,800 diodes

Floor space:

3,100 square feet

Project leaders:

Jay Forrester and Robert Everett




1951

 







LEO




Computers  England´s first commercial computer, the Lyons Electronic Office, solved clerical problems. The president of Lyons Tea Co. had the computer, modeled after the EDSAC, built to solve the problem of daily scheduling production and delivery of cakes to the Lyons tea shops. After the success of the first LEO, Lyons went into business manufacturing computers to meet the growing need for data processing systems.

1951

 







UNIVAC I




Computers  The UNIVAC I delivered to the U.S. Census Bureau was the first commercial computer to attract widespread public attention. Although manufactured by Remington Rand, the machine often was mistakenly referred to as the "IBM UNIVAC." Remington Rand eventually sold 46 machines at more than $1 million each.F.O.B. factory $750,000 plus $185,000 for a high speed printer.

Speed:

1,905 operations per second

Input/output:

magnetic tape, unityper, printer

Memory size:

1,000 12-digit words in delay lines

Memory type:

delay lines, magnetic tape

Technology:

serial vacuum tubes, delay lines, magnetic tape

Floor space:

943 cubic feet

Cost:

F.O.B. factory $750,000 plus $185,000 for a high speed printer

Project leaders:

J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly




1951

 







von Neumann´s IAS




Computers  John von Neumann´s IAS computer became operational at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J. Contract obliged the builders to share their designs with other research institutes. This resulted in a number of clones: the MANIAC at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, the ILLIAC at the University of Illinois, the Johnniac at Rand Corp., the SILLIAC in Australia, and others.

1952

 







IBM 701




Computers  IBM shipped its first electronic computer, the 701. During three years of production, IBM sold 19 machines to research laboratories, aircraft companies, and the federal government.

1953

 







IBM 650




Computers  The IBM 650 magnetic drum calculator established itself as the first mass-produced computer, with the company selling 450 in one year. Spinning at 12,500 rpm, the 650´s magnetic data-storage drum allowed much faster access to stored material than drum memory machines.

1954

 







MIT TX0




Computers  MIT researchers built the TX-0, the first general-purpose, programmable computer built with transistors. For easy replacement, designers placed each transistor circuit inside a "bottle," similar to a vacuum tube. Constructed at MIT´s Lincoln Laboratory, the TX-0 moved to the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics, where it hosted some early imaginative tests of programming, including a Western movie shown on TV, 3-D tic-tac-toe, and a maze in which mouse found martinis and became increasingly inebriated.

1956

 







SAGE operator station




Computers  SAGE — Semi-Automatic Ground Environment — linked hundreds of radar stations in the United States and Canada in the first large-scale computer communications network. An operator directed actions by touching a light gun to the screen.

The air defense system operated on the AN/FSQ-7 computer (known as Whirlwind II during its development at MIT) as its central computer. Each computer used a full megawatt of power to drive its 55,000 vacuum tubes, 175,000 diodes and 13,000 transistors.



1958

 













Computers  Japan´s NEC built the country´s first electronic computer, the NEAC 1101.

1958

 







IBM STRETCH




Computers  IBM´s 7000 series mainframes were the company´s first transistorized computers. At the top of the line of computers — all of which emerged significantly faster and more dependable than vacuum tube machines — sat the 7030, also known as the "Stretch." Nine of the computers, which featured a 64-bit word and other innovations, were sold to national laboratories and other scientific users. L. R. Johnson first used the term "architecture" in describing the Stretch.

1959

 







DEC PDP-1




Computers  The precursor to the minicomputer, DEC´s PDP-1 sold for $120,000. One of 50 built, the average PDP-1 included with a cathode ray tube graphic display, needed no air conditioning and required only one operator. It´s large scope intrigued early hackers at MIT, who wrote the first computerized video game, SpaceWar!, for it. The SpaceWar! creators then used the game as a standard demonstration on all 50 computers.

1960

 







IBM 1401




Computers  According to Datamation magazine, IBM had an 81.2-percent share of the computer market in 1961, the year in which it introduced the 1400 Series. The 1401 mainframe, the first in the series, replaced the vacuum tube with smaller, more reliable transistors and used a magnetic core memory.

Demand called for more than 12,000 of the 1401 computers, and the machine´s success made a strong case for using general-purpose computers rather than specialized systems.



1961

 







Clark with LINC-8





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