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Advent of Electronic Digital Computing

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129450D
Original Publication Date: 1984-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

JOHN VINCENT ATANASOFF: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The author touches on the nebulous beginnings of his interest in computing, and how, when specific problems arose, the computers of the day were used and analyzed. The first choice he made was between analog and digital computers. After study, digital computers seemed better for most purposes, but no computer in existence met his requirements.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1984 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Advent of Electronic Digital Computing

JOHN VINCENT ATANASOFF

(Image Omitted: © 1984 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Rights of use reserved by author and author's heirs. Photograph on page 230 © Carolyn Caddes. Author's Address: 11928 East Baldwin Road, Monrovia, MD 21770 1984 © AFIPS 01 64-1 239/84/030229-282

Advent of Electronic Digital Computing

JOHN VINCENT ATANASOFF .00/00)

The author touches on the nebulous beginnings of his interest in computing, and how, when specific problems arose, the computers of the day were used and analyzed. The first choice he made was between analog and digital computers. After study, digital computers seemed better for most purposes, but no computer in existence met his requirements.

Thus he was led to a more exact study of the logic of digital computing: medium for the computer structure, base of the numbers for the computer, slow and fast memory, computing by logic and not by enumeration, data in and data out, carry-over, etc. A prototype and an ABC were constructed. Several basic concepts developed in that day are in use in modern computers. The subsequent litigations and controversies are discussed in some detail.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: A. 0 [General] -- autobiographies, J. V. Atanasoff; K.2 [History of Computing] -- Atanasoff-Berry Computer, hardware, people General Terms: Design, Experimentation, Human Factors Additional Key Words and Phrases: C. E. Berry, J. P. Eckert,
J. W. Mauchly, Iowa State College, litigation

Foreword

On November 11, 1980, John V. Atanasoff presented his work on digital computation at a Pioneer Computer Lecture at the Computer Museum. I urged him to write a fuller account and said I would be honored to write a foreword. This is the first real account of his work outside of his August 1940 manuscript (reprinted in Randell's book) and 1338 pages of testimony in a federal court trial.

The paper is important because it: is a primary source and, as such, its value will only become apparent with its use by historians. It should be valuable in the understanding of how science and technology develop, in general, and how the computer was invented, specifically.

IEEE Computer Society, Jul 01, 1984 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 6 Number 3, Pages 229-282

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Advent of Electronic Digital Computing

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