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The History of the JOHNNIAC

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129321D
Original Publication Date: 1979-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 18 page(s) / 78K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

F. J. GRUENBERGER: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This reprint of an early RAND Memorandum by the author describes the thirteen-year life of the JOHNNIAC computer, a Princeton-class machine designed and built at The RAND Corporation in 1953. The history presented here is based on documents and recollections of the individuals involved in the creation of JOHNNIAC.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 5% of the total text.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1979 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The History of the JOHNNIAC

F. J. GRUENBERGER

(Image Omitted: 1968 The RAND Corp., Santa Monica, CA 90406; repented by permission, with slight adaptations. Originally appeared as RAND Memorandum RM-5654-PR, October 1968, with the credit statement: "This research is supported by the United States Air Force under Project RAND Contract No. F44620-67-C-004 monitored by the Directorate of Operation Requirements and Development Plans, Deputy Chief of Staff, Research and Development, Hq. USAF. Views or conclusions contained in this study should not be interpreted as representing the official opinion or policy of the United States Air Force." Author's address: Department of Computer Science, California State University, Northridge, CA 91330.)

This reprint of an early RAND Memorandum by the author describes the thirteen-year life of the JOHNNIAC computer, a Princeton-class machine designed and built at The RAND Corporation in 1953. The history presented here is based on documents and recollections of the individuals involved in the creation of JOHNNIAC.

Key words and phrases: JOHNNIAC, JOSS, John Williams, John von Neumann, RAND Corporation, Princeton-type machine CR categories: 1.2, 6.0, 6.2, 6.3

Prologue 1979

Any piece of history must be viewed in proper perspective. JOHNNIAC became operational in 1953. This paper appeared 15 years later, and we are now viewing it after another decade of conditioning. The computing industry is now (1979) in production with integrated circuitry having a density of a quarter of a million active elements (e.g., transistors) per square inch, so that all the electronics of a machine like JOHNNIAC can be fabricated on a wisp of a chip -- to sell for, say, $20 -- which will function faster and better than JOHNNIAC ever did. We thus tend to become jaded and blase when reading about the troubles of the early days, and we find ourselves wondering how they could have been so simple-minded about things that are now quite clear. No doubt it will be possible to make the same statement again in 1 99D. It seems that every single thing that we know today about computing had to be learned -- and relearned - - the same painful and expensive way. It may just be that simple re-reading of history once or twice a year can provide us with some insight, and it is insight that we desperately need.

So we are talking about a time that is over a quarter of a century ago, and you are invited to try to put yourself into the context of that time. A significant portion of the people active in computing today were not yet born.-F.J.G.

Preface 1968

The purpose of this Memorandum is to capture some history and flavor of an era. The era is that of the pioneering days of the world of computing, specifically, the thirteen-year life span of the

IEEE Computer Society, Jul 0...